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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Bow Wow Bliss: Doggie Meditation

Meditation is as simple as a walk in the dog park. Imagine sitting down with your dog. As you both begin to relax, your breaths become longer, less hurried. Your thoughts slow down until it seems like you are not thinking at all. If you and your dog already share moments like these, then you’ve glimpsed the bliss of meditation.

Meditation is great for dogs. Not only does it improve a dog’s health and well-being, but excitable dogs become calmer, aggressive dogs become more loving, and dogs that once whined and howled for attention become quieter and more content. Meditation is great for you, too. It relieves stress and sharpens your mental focus.

Here are five ways to get started on a non-dogmatic meditation practice.

Schedule a regular time. First thing in the morning is a great time, or right after you get home from work but before you get into your evening activities. The more consistent you are, the more you and your dog will be able to ease into meditation.

Develop a ritual. Ritual helps to prepare you and your dog for meditation. Light a candle, burn incense, put on quiet music, or sit in the same place and position each day.

Let go of expectation. If you have a pre-conceived idea of what your meditation experience will be, you’ll just get frustrated. Your experience will not be the same as someone else’s and chances are, will be different for you from day to day. Enjoy your meditation, however it turns out.

Connect with your dog. When you sit down to meditate, your dog should be either lying next to you or on your lap. Put one or both hands on your dog. This connection is soothing to him. Your dog may get up. That’s okay. Just stay quiet, and when your dog returns, put your hand or hands back on him.

Conclude your meditation the same way each time. This signals your body and mind, as well as your dog’s, that it’s time to move on to the next part of your day. The transition should be gentle rather than jarring. Pet your dog slowly, lengthening the stroke from short to long; whisper or say aloud an affirmation, quote, or prayer, or roll your head from side to side.

Meditating with your dog is as individual as your relationship with your dog. Be patient. Try different things. There are few rules about meditation. The perfect meditation is whatever brings you and your pooch bow wow bliss.

James Jacobson and Kristine Chandler Madera are authors of How to Meditate with Your Dog: An Introduction to Meditation for Dog Lovers, which presents a non-dogmatic approach to meditation. To fetch a free chapter from the book,  “The Three Un-Dogmas,”  and the introduction from the audiobook go to 

by James Jacobson and Kristine Chandler Madera


The Bare Bones

Here is an example of the steps that I take in my meditation practice with my dog Maui.

• We go to our meditation room and sit. • I may turn on music. • I place my hands on Maui. • I close my eyes and focus on Maui’s breath. • Our breathing synchronizes. • When a thought comes, I let it go and refocus on our breath. • I continue this process for as long as it feels right.

—James Jacobson

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