We went for our walk over to the nearby park where we started tossing a toy Frisbee for the dogs to chase. There was some growling and tug of war with the first toss but they have been playing together for the past couple of weeks and it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Then we threw the Frisbee a 2nd time and it was all over. Baum and Arlo got into a pretty nasty dog fight and Ian and I were having a hard time getting them to stop.
When we finally got the dogs pulled apart I saw Arlo was bleeding, and a pretty good bleed too. His front left paw has a pretty deep puncture and two other smaller punctures closer to his arm pit. I have never, and my dog has never, been in a fight of this caliber before and as I watched my sweet little Mr. Man’s blood flow onto the grass I felt my throat tighten and my eyes bug out of my head. My thoughts began to race and I could feel myself loosing my grip on the situation. I was headed for an all out scared momma freak-out! Then I heard this voice say , “Remember your yoga.” I took a deep breath in and slowly released it out through my mouth. Then I took a 2nd one and releasing it slowly I began to put together my thoughts to form a proper course of action.
Unfortunately Ian has had experience with this sort of thing and new how to clean Arlo’s wounds and bandage the bigger puncture wound. He was hardly putting any weight on it yesterday but is getting around much better today. Fortunately, the wounds don’t seem to be anything too serious and Baum is unscathed.
However, that whole thing totally through off my day as well as took up my scheduled blogging time. The situation seems really ironic, here I was all prepared to write about donating blood and how it really is important yadda-yadda and then my dog starts gushing the stuff! I did have this silly thought that Arlo would need a blood transfusion. He really didn’t loose that much, probably about equal to that time I scraped my knee really bad trying to teach myself how to ride a bike without training wheels.
The whole dog fight situation is a really good example of why we practice yoga. Sometimes crazy stuff happens. I had no more control over Arlo than Ian had on Baum. Just another of life’s many circumstances that nobody really has control over. Plus, the more I stop trying to control everything that happens to me I realize how little control I really have over anything. For some people this can be a scary revelation, but once you realize that you can’t orchestrate the world you realize how much easier it is to control the things you can control, like yourself.
Like I said, I had no control over the dogs, their fighting, or even the precious life force leaking out of my dogs wounds. However, in that moment when my own life force, or purusha, spoke up I remembered I could have control over myself. Starting with my breath, I have the choice in any moment to take a slow smooth inhale and slow deep exhale. Once my mind registers that I have taken control of my breath it is more willing to listen to calm logic and reasoning in order to handle a situation, and just like that I am in control. Back in the cock-pit of my mind I am able to pull myself out of a downward spiral into total chaos. This is yoga. The integration of body and mind through the breath.
In our physical yoga practice we fine tune this control by using ujjayi pranayama, breathing through the nose/out through the nose making the soft sound of the ocean, and link the breath together with the asanas, yoga poses. The mind is so busy following the breath and poses that there is little hard drive space left to think of much else.
Now you might be saying, I can think of a zillion things while practicing yoga! I assure you, you’ve lost your breath. Sure you may be breathing (or you might even forget to if you’re really focusing on a pose or something else) but the conscious smooth and even breath with controlled movement is the goal. That is what helps to tame the mind. It’s funny how the simplest things can be so challenging, but that is why we call it a yoga practice.
So go out there, take control, breathe consciously, and be the best you ever!
OH! And you should really try donating blood if you can. It won’t go to waste, your body makes more, you feel like a really good person afterwards, it’s gotta be good karma points, I hate needles and it really wasn’t that bad, takes ½ hour, and you are saving somebody’s life! Mad props!!
Until next time, remember to breathe & keep practicing your yoga!