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Canine Flow - The True Dog Yoga?

10 Oct 2017

  • Understanding Canine Flow

Canine Flow actually encompasses all 8 practices of true Yoga.

If you are practicing only 1, the Asanas (or postures), then you and your dog are hugely missing out!

The 8 practices are known as the 8 Limbs of Yoga. They derive from the original Sanskrit yoga teachings in which their name is the Ashtanga - Ashta meaning Eight and Anga meaning Limb. These practices and teachings enable us as owners to understand both ourselves and our dogs in a new light. They provide the basis for deep connection, and transformations in both well-being and behaviours.

The word Yoga means to Unite, from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ to join, add and unite.

Our dogs have profound messages for us on Unity, Strength and the Energy Connection of life. They provide us with reflections of our own inner being and emotional state in their choices, behaviours and their health. Working with our dogs enhances our own Yogic practice as well as providing them with emotional nourishment, postural balance and safe outlets to ground excessive behaviours.

Your dog is a reflection of your own emotional balance. Your dog is never trying to be ‘in charge’, he simply ‘has a charge’ of Emotional Energy that needs grounding. If you can achieve connection, there is little need for control.

Canine Flow covers the following Yogic practices and teachings:

  1. Yama ~ Expression
    This first practice is a consideration of what we put out into our world. It is an encouragement to move Yoga (or doga) principles beyond the mat, and beyond the class session time. It has 5 attributes: Non-Violence, Non-Stealing, Non-Hoarding, Use of Energy and Truthfulness.As dog owners, we can often find some of these principles challenging. Noticing how we interact with aspects of life related to dog ownership provides a fascinating platform to noticing how we approach the rest of our life and relationships. In Yama, we see our dogs reflecting how we are currently living or what we have been putting into our reality so far.
    Canine Flow holds empowering tools to become aware of and to transform what we Give, and thus what we Receive. It is interesting to note the role of dogs as mans-best-friend. As humanity has evolved, so canine behaviour and the challenges for dog owners has also.

  2. Niyama ~ Self-Reflection
    ‘Ni’ means inward, and so this practice is a focus on what we have within and what we send within. How we treat ourselves, and how that is shown in our treatment of that outside of ourselves.
    Whilst it can be of service to reflect on our mind and thoughts, it is our sub-conscious – our Heart frequencies - that are really running the show. Dog owners are blessed with a being that is able to reflect to them what their Heart is emitting in a way many people may miss out. Dogs have the biggest heart per body mass, meaning they of all creatures can receive and sense how we truly feel underneath the overriding mind. This can occur as a general perception or at specific times, when certain aspects of our lives are being experienced. By studying our dog’s behaviour and well-being, we can more easily focus inward, and learn more about our subconscious (and conscious) influence over our dogs too.
    The techniques of Canine Flow enable ways to change what we feel around experiences as a dog owner, perhaps other dogs or social situations, and also provides ways to release any stuck emotions or cellular memory of trauma that the dog may have accumulated either before they lived with you, since they have lived with you, or which has been passed down to them from their own canine family tree or ancestry.

  3. Asana ~ Postures
    The Asana’s are the postures of Yoga. Certain postures relate to certain ways of feeling. Our aim is to encourage our dogs to feel safer and be able to express themselves emotionally. This is done with an understanding of the value of a dog’s proprioceptive feedback, which is kind of like their true 6th Sense. A sense that feeds-back a message as to how capable they are of movement (or Flight from a perceived danger), and thus how safe they are, at every given moment.
    Each dog will have a short postural assessment before Asana’s are introduced, as this practice must be individual to the dog’s needs.
    Traditional Human Yoga postures are not appropriate for dogs. This isn't a gimmick, it's about truly understanding your dog's Life Force Flow of Energy.

  4. Pranayama ~ Breath
    Our fourth practice is the introduction of varied breathing techniques. Breath is the vital force of life and can be utilised to calm the body, mind and importantly the heart rate and harmony (known as Heart Coherence).
    Hormones also balance successfully during breathing techniques. Our dogs have a special organ known as the VNO that senses/smells our bodies hormones (almost as chemical-like molecules). By balancing our hormonal state, we provide calm signals to our dogs, thus encouraging calmness and feelings of safety for them.

  5. Pratyahara ~ Living in the Moment
    This is the limb to ‘withdraw’. For Canine Flow, its primary aim is to understand the value of living in the moment. Luckily, we have fantastic teachers in our dogs, who already live mindfully rather than with a full mind! If your dog has fears, anxieties or displays reactivity, Pratyahara provides the opportunity to understand these emotions and release them into Flow again so that your dog’s moment-to-moment existence is as pawsitive as it can be.

  6. Dharana ~ Focus
    Your dog is an expert at sensing the images of your mind. Telepathically picking up on what they then believe you ‘want’, or are doing from the visualisations you project. By switching our focus and visualisations onto that which we would like, rather than that which we do not want, we can transform behaviours and upgrade our communication. In Doga-Flow, we use this practice in this way – it is not always easy at first but the rewards are wonderful.

  7. Dhyana ~ Meditation
    This proven practice is perhaps the second best known part of Yoga. It also forms the basis of our RelaxDog TM classes. Dogs are incredibly receptive to this, and despite concerns of unsettlement, benefit from the Peace found during Meditation practice immensely.

  8. Samadhi ~ Enlightenment
    The literal meaning of Samadhi is Sama meaning Equal (the same) and Dhi meaning ‘to see’.
    As both ourselves and our dogs reach bliss or enlightenment, we reach a realisation that All is in constant Flow. The flow of energy both makes us up and is our creative force. Our aim is to drop our feelings of judgement and blame to fully allow our dog's message of equality and empowerment, rather than victimhood, into our individual reality. We can then See the push, pull, restriction or flow of energy in every creature and its engagement of the world around it. We can move beyond the limitations of our cultural or personal belief systems into recognition of the strength and unity found in connection.

At our Retreats, you and your dog have the opportunity to enjoy all the teachings described, stay in lovely surroundings, and dine on delicious soul-nourishing food.

Together we can build a deeper understanding and more meaningful life for both ourselves and our dogs, beyond physical postures and beyond the limits of the mind.

True Yoga is an inner practice.


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