Ever wonder why your dog moves a little closer when you get out your yoga mat or begin to meditate? And, how many times have you wished you could read your petʼs mind when he or she gives you that sad-eyed look? As any dog owner will tell you, our pets bring us great joy, in part because we seem to connect with them emotionally. They naturally pick up on and reflect cues from us. In fact, much has been written about the therapeutic benefits of finding zen with your dog. That’s right — there are ways to meditate with your dog to bring even greater happiness and peacefulness to your lives together.
Neil Meisel, yoga and meditation teacher, has found that his pets love to be close by when he meditates. His focus is on “mindfulness” meditation, which helps individuals be more in touch with life by becoming more aware of what is happening in their bodies and minds at the moment it is happening. According to Meisel, “mindfulness meditation is nonjudgemental awareness of your experience in the moment.” Pets are natural meditators: they seem to have an innate ability to be nonjudgemental and to respond in the moment – important skills that they bring to pet therapy. On the other hand, humans often become lost in thought and are seldom aware of the moment-to-moment experience.
The health benefits of meditation for dogs and humans –and just how to do it — is just one of the topics that will be addressed at the PAWS for Peopleʼs annual Winter Conference, “Sit, Stay & Learn: Lessons for People & Pets,” which will be held at the Delaware School for the Deaf, Saturday, February 23rd, from 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM. The Sharing Meditative Energy with Your Pets workshop will begin by teaching participants how to meditate. It will then progress into meditative exercises that will help these individuals begin a meditative relationship with their pets. Both people and pets gain from this experience.
With a keynote address by Dr. Paul Rosen of Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children, the conference will feature a series of informative, instructional and interactive workshops designed for pet owners, pet lovers or anyone who has an interest in pet therapy and the unspoken bond between humans and animals.
For more information and to register online: www.pawsforpeople.org or 302-351-5622.
Susan Moran is a PAWS team member and volunteer publicist for PAWS for People in Newark, Delaware.