1. There's no shame in taking cat naps. Savasana can happen anytime, anywhere. If I took Savasana as frequently as my cat Gracey does, I'd be diagnosed with narcolepsy. But that doesn't mean I can't be inspired by her natural tendency to rest when she needs to. There's also no shame in resting in Child's Pose or skipping a Chaturanga or two during your yoga practice. It's a sign of wisdom.
2. Be patient. Gracey has a lot in common with advanced yoga postures. For example, they both come to me when they are good and ready--and not a moment sooner. The best thing I can do is have patience, let go of expectations, and when that sweet moment finally comes, be ready to delight in the purring.
3. Be persistent. When my cat gets a glimpse of a little red dot of light, created by my laser pointer, moving across the carpet, she chases it relentlessly. Even when the dot disappears, she will sometimes spend a very long time sniffing and pawing at the carpet looking for it. It's with that kind of determination, we should approach our practice. We know the peace we're seeking is there because we've seen it before. And if we keep working at it, we'll find it again!
4. Have faith. I could never be a pet. The concept of having complete trust in someone else to put your food out and provide you shelter and love is so foreign it's hard to imagine, but my kitty has no problem with that. She just trusts that her dinner will come. She doesn't have to know every detail about where it came from or what's coming next. She's just grateful to have another meal. In yoga, I might not always know when the next lesson is coming, but I trust that it will come when I need it.
5. Take care of yourself. You know what the best part about having a cat is? They clean themselves! I never have to chase Gracey around or think of clever ways to trick her into getting into the bathtub as I do with my dog. The yogic equivalent is when you have an injury, and you take the time understand it enough to explain it to your teacher, modify poses when you need to, or skip a pose altogether. (Of course, bathing yourself regularly is a good idea, too!)
What yogic lessons have you learned from your pets?
This was originally posted as part of my Top 5 Tuesdays blog at YogaJournal.com. Read more here.