This week I had the pleasure of recording a podcast with Daniel Rose, podcast host of “Dogs and Deadlifts, Building Better Dogs and People.” Daniel has a wonderful perspective about the connection our own health has to our dogs’ health and how to build health and wellness together.
I’m really excited to be a guest on his 20th podcast – it will be out next week, so stay tuned for the link to tune in!
I’ve always loved physical fitness. As a young person and through college, I loved running and weight lifting. In my 20s I got into various martial arts practices. In my 30s I took up dressage and in my 40s I discovered the power of pilates for rehab and physical strengthening. Now in my 50s, my favorite physical activities are long walks with the dog, rides on my horse and power pilates sessions.
Speaking to Daniel got me to thinking about how our Animal Reiki practice can contribute to fitness building. If we expand our viewpoint about fitness, the Let Animals Lead® method can be seen as an exercise to build strength in our spiritual muscles! When we think of our most challenging fitness exercises, perhaps what comes to mind at first is that extra mile in our run, that impossible yoga pose, that seemingly never-ending pilates plank, or that extra pound on our barbell that seems impossible to lift. But if I expand my ideas of fitness challenges, I could also see that the heaviest weight I ever carried was that of grief, the longest marathon I ever ran was the journey from breast cancer treatment back to wellness, and the most impossible feat I ever accomplished was finding a way to come back to compassion and forgiveness in the middle of a moment of anger and worry.
Although we often think of fitness as a physical exercise, the truth is, when we spend our time with animals, we learn that every moment has so many layers, and indeed all physical activity is deepened by our emotional, mental and spiritual experiences. Our animals reflect our moods and thoughts so clearly. If we could strengthen our spiritual resiliency, imagine how much our physical, mental, emotional strength and fortitude could improve!
What if we saw our meditation practice with animals as an essential “spiritual fitness” training? The more we spiritually train, the stronger we get in all aspects of our lives. The muscles we are building are the spiritual muscles of peace, grounding, gratitude, courage, kindness, compassion and conscious presence. Plus, being spiritually strong gives us more endurance and fortitude in any physical training or emotional challenge we take on, of course with our animals by our sides.
I think it’s wonderful if we can remember to include our animals in all parts of our journeys: whether we’re talking about physical workouts (think dog jogging, goat yoga and cat pilates) or spiritual training (think of meditations in pastures, yards or in our homes with the animals we love). Our animals care so much about us, they want to be a part of our journey towards health and will greatly benefit from all our efforts!
Time to hit the spiritual gym, everyone (meaning, take a deep breath and find that quiet space at the center of your being and invite your animals to share the moment with you.) When we let animals lead, we can workout with a “peace out.”
Besides my podcast with Daniel (check out next week’s newsletter for the link!), I’ve got lots of new classes starting next week! Be sure to check out my calendar page for more details!
Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,