The Ultimate Yogi, My Cat.

by Christine Saldana
(New York City)

Sally the graceful yogi

Sally the graceful yogi

Sally was no stranger to my yoga mat. She had already claimed it as her personal scratching post, bed, and now: litter.

It was during Downward-Facing-Dog that I recognized the stench all pet owners dread. Any tranquility in my body quickly exited. Dramatically, I threw my arms in the air. This Wednesday, I was having a particular bad day and yoga was my last attempt at some peace of mind.

The very word yoga suggests the connection of mind and body. Its root "yuj" means unity or yoke which indicates that the purpose of yoga is to unite ourselves with our highest nature. At this moment however, my nature consisted highly of fuming smoke. A hot-headed Leo I am, I often loose my cool. I fumbled around my messy apartment, searching for that damn cleaning spray. Sally watched safely from a distance as I wiped down the mat.

I eventually threw the roll of paper towels on the floor. It was beyond repair and the third one I had bought in a month! I admit I am not great with discipline. With dogs, you can tell them "Bad dog!" and they'll understand. Yet with cats, their wall of apathy is more difficult to climb.

I turned my head to Sally's direction, and there she was, stretching. In fact, she was in Downward-Facing-Dog, my favorite yoga position. The natural yogi that she was, her pose was mastered so gracefully.

I realized then there was no need for my negative energy. After all, it was not helping out the situation. Yoga is meant to bring awareness to our mind, body and surroundings, yet I failed to notice that yoga was a time of peace and unity for my cat also. To see her human at ground level made her happy. Sally's ability to stay calm and collected reminded me there are healthier ways to deal with stress than by huffing and puffing.

Now Sally and I have our own special yoga routine. She sits on the mat as I do warm-ups. Sometimes, she stretches too but most of the time she just watches. I then place a few cat treats by her bowl and she understands it is time to give me my space.

There have been no accidents since. Through yoga, I am learning to control my thoughts and emotions. Sally is helping a lot too.

We both learned from our mistakes. Isn't that what life's about, anyway?

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