Come on now, how can I even try to compete with sweet, cuddly, eight-week-old puppy dogs?
Just look at that lil face.
Anyone who knows me knows I am 100% a cat person (and 99.5% afraid of dogs), but when the local SPCA asked me to help out with a puppy yoga class, I had to say yes. I’d been to kitten yoga classes before and loved them, so I figured this would be something new and fun to try as well.
First off, I’ve got to give props to LB, who teaches this kind of class on the regular – holding a class’s attention for a full yoga class while there are baby animals in the room is a STRUGGLE. Who’s going to be focused on downward dog when a real-live dog is trying to lick their face? Like I said, I just can’t compete. Too cute.
It was definitely not my typical yoga class. (Although I have to say, I lucked out in that the puppies were super friendly and super tiny, so I wasn’t afraid at all.) Once we got started, I led the class through an easy beginner’s practice, but honestly – the puppies ran the show. I worried that my teaching was sub-par, and that I should have been able to keep the class under better control. They did pay for a yoga class, after all! My control-freaky self panicked a little each time I saw someone abandon their yoga pose for a puppy cuddle. And savasana? It was a lost cause. I attempted to get them still and peaceful for a minute, then it was just like “ooookay never mind, it’s puppy time!”
But still, everyone loved it! I was surprised when a few people came up to me after class to say how much they enjoyed it – although I should really give most of the credit to the dogs. Despite the class involving minimal yoga and zero zen, it was fun!
It’s easy to forget that yoga is allowed to be fun. We so often associate yoga with the oh-so-serious, zen AF master guru. No nonsense, all about the spirituality. I’m sure it stops plenty of people from ever stepping foot inside a yoga studio – thinking they’re not “deep” enough for such a practice, or that “yoga is boring”. Not true, and this class was a great reminder for me.
I’ll admit, I can take myself too seriously sometimes. I try not to, but I catch myself in yoga-robot mode sometimes, especially when I teach – trying to make sure my class runs just-so, trying to execute each pose perfectly, and getting way-too-annoyed at myself if I fall off balance or cue a pose awkwardly. Why??? There’s no need to stress out over being perfect; this is supposed to be enjoyable! It’s supposed to be fun! I’m getting better with time at learning to laugh at myself when I mess up a pose or stutter my words while I’m teaching. I’m realizing that no one expects perfection. No one wants that ashram-level-serious, perfectly silent, no-nonsense yoga class. People like having the space to make mistakes, and to feel free to laugh at themselves when they do so.
Smiles, and laughter, and fun most definitely have a place in a yoga class. It doesn’t always have to be all about the asanas and vinyasas. Sometimes it can be more about the joy, and the feel-good vibes you leave a class with. I think puppy yoga had a lot of that second kind of zen going on. Everyone left feeling pretty good – which is kind of the point of yoga anyway, right?
You wise lil puppadawgs – thanks for the reminder. And thank you to the SPCA for asking me to be a part of this!
Much love, many laughs, all the FUN