Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inviting Newness to Your Practice--Lessons from the Tasha-Dog

Gorgeous spring days in Seattle  make me feel, well, alive. The air is crisp and infused with the sweet smell of new flowers.  Colors  return to the Seattle landscape—reds, pinks, purples, blues, greens—even the whites seem to jump out in stark contrast to the gray days we will soon leave behind.

As she ages,  my dog seems more and more entranced by the newness.  Our normal ninety-minute walks stretch to two, even three hours as the paths she found disinteresting all winter suddenly come alive to her again.

As she walks me to her new favorite spots at Greenlake, I am struck by how the familiar is continually interesting to her.  By conservative calculations, we’ve walked Greenlake’s path almost 2600 times in our almost ten years together; yet she still finds it fascinating.  As she gets older, her interests and abilities change.  She is no longer the great hunter-dog that dragged me, face-down, across the grass as she tried to catch those ever-elusive squirrels.  Now she’s more of an observer, a tour guide of sorts, saying hello to familiar walkers as she gazes across the lake from her new treasured spot in the shade.

But still, every time, she leads us to Greenlake with enthusiasm--with intention.  I never know exactly where we’re headed, but I can tell that she does.  And in spite of her obviously planned destination, she enjoys every minute of the path along the way.

Like Tasha, we can live our lives--and practice our yoga--with great enthusiasm and a sense of newness.  We can bring the same sense of wonder to the 2600th repetition of cat pose that we brought to our first.  As our bodies change, we may not be able to do handstand or wheel, but we can invite vitality, energy, and joy to every pose we can do.  We can invite gratitude and intention to every breath we take.  In fact,  these simple poses give us the opportunity to more fully experience the connection of body, breath and mind that is truly the purpose of yoga.

As we enter this season of re-birth, I’d like to invite all of us, including myself, to experience life and our practice the same way Tasha does.  As happy in exploring the familiar as seeing the new.  As present and joyful in our old age as we were in our youth.   As connected with our world on the days our path is difficult as the day we took our first step.

The yoga sutras call this persevering practice:  Doing the same practice over and over again, over a long period of time, without interruption, with enthusiasm and an intention of growth.  Such a practice, they say, leads to the true goal of yoga: clarity.

May you find newness and re-birth, joy and optimism, hope and clarity this Spring.  And may you experience the inner peace that is the state of yoga.


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber's author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and wherever books are sold.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Many hugs to Tasha, Tracy. How wonderful that she helps to plan your walks.

Betty Hechtman said...

I used to walk Goldy on the same walk everyday, but I never got tired of it. There was always something new to notice or appreciate something familiar.

Sadly, Goldy died a couple of years ago. For now we just have two cats whose outdoor time is limited to our backyard.

But recently, my husband and I started walking the same path I did with Goldy. I'm still not bored by it. Last night as we walked the wonderful scent of honeysuckle wafted my way. It could be my favorite scent.

Tracy Weber said...

Walks are one of Tasha's great joys in life. I'm so happy to share them with her, and look forward to doing so again soon. Betty, I'm sorry for the loss of your lovely Goldy.