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Daisy came into my life as a pup four years ago from the SPCA, three weeks after losing my mixed-breed chow-chow to cancer. I had not planned on getting a puppy, but as we all know, things rarely work out how we first envision them to. Over the past four years we have been on many crazy adventures together. And Daisy, like any good teacher, never ceases to amaze, motivate, and challenge me. Even though I am sometimes a bit of a slow learner, Daisy is more patient with me than I tend to be with her, and this perhaps is her greatest lesson of all to me. Many of the things I try to teach my students about Yoga beyond the poses, I see so easily taught by my Guru Daisy. If you’ve read the article “The Irreverent Yogi” in the January to March, 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine, you will already know that Daisy performs Down-Dog better than any ‘human’ student I have. And that even though my students turn to me for direction and answers, I freely admit that I too am a student, learning as they are. I encourage my students to look for answers in all that surrounds them and remind them that teachers are everywhere (the idea behind “Namaste”). And yes, these teachers may even be in animal form. I often share Daisy’s wisdom with my students, and for anything they have learnt through Daisy’s sharing with me, and my with them, I am grateful. Now I will share with you some of the lessons I have learnt from my dog Daisy.
  Lesson Number 1:  Do Down-Dog and do it often! I have observed and learned that Down-Dog is as much a great stretch, as it is a friendly greeting or salutation, or as it is a way of physically reveling in joy. It is how Daisy greets the day, it is her response to her favorite words such as “park” or “run”, and it is how she finds her length again after a long curled up nap. The central inclusion of Down-Dog in the Salutation sequence makes so much sense to me now.   Lesson Number 2:  Follow Down-Dog with Up-Dog! Yes, Daisy's perfect Down-Dog is usually followed by a wonderful Up-Dog as well. The lesson here? Balance.  
Lesson Number 3:  Meditate Daisy has the amazing ability to tune out anything and everything when completely focused on say, a squirrel, bird, mosquito, or whatever else it may be. Virtually nothing can break her ‘meditative state’. Such focus is something I yearn for when trying to meditate, or even when just sitting quietly. The lesson? Be engaged, and empty your mind of all things except for that which you seek.  
Lesson Number 4:  Play Daisy has chased a ball, stick, mosquito, or whatever it is that moves and catches her fancy, thousands of times, but never seems to take it for granted. Every time is as exciting as the first to her. I believe she truly appreciates the opportunity to play, exercise, breathe deeply, and have fun. Take time every day to enjoy yourself. Greet the people you meet with genuine love and appreciation. Play with the kind of enthusiasm you felt the first time you ever participated in the activity. You will be surprised at how much more enjoyable it is.  
Lesson Number 5:  Drink water First thing in the morning and throughout the day. Especially after ‘play’, ‘meditation’, and ‘Down-Dog-Up-Dog’ vinyasas. Don’t worry if it spills all down your face or dribbles across the floor in long spindles from your lips when you walk away from your bowl...I mean sink. Didn’t it taste amazing?  
Lesson Number 6:  Have regular bowel movements and observe them Sounds gross right? But being on a regular schedule (also called “being regular”) and having some awareness around shape, consistency and smell are important indicators of your overall health. Dog owners KNOW when their companions are ill because they are ‘up close and personal’ with their faeces on a daily basis. The same should apply to you!  
Lesson Number 7:  Listen To the world and people around you. Hang on their every word like they are going to tell you something incredible (like ‘do you want to go to the park?’). You’ll be amazed at how much more engaged and alive you are in the world. Try however to keep your head from tilting to one side or the other when the person talking says a word you are unfamiliar with. Actually, on second thought, DO IT!  
Lesson Number 8:  Know your limits Work on releasing the ego and clearly know what you are able or unable to do. Daisy never goes beyond her abilities in exercise or within pack dynamics. Most call that instinct, but I see it as Yogic grace. I try to be vigilant in my own actions when we are out exercising together to be sure that my ego is not pushing us both beyond what we should be doing. There have been times when Daisy has looked at me like “c’mon, you’ve got to be kidding”, and I’ve looked back at her with “do I look like I’m kidding?”....then got injured. Silly student.  
Lesson Number 9:  Eat fresh green foods I don’t know what grass tastes like, but I’m seriously thinking about trying it. Every spring, all dogs, including Daisy, graze on the fresh new young grass. In Chinese medicine, spring time in particular is associated with the liver energy and green foods. And as animals are more connected to the natural world than we tend to be, I say, ‘salad anyone?'  
Lesson Number 10:  Rest Possibly the hardest of all of Daisy’s lessons for me to learn. Rest is essential to repair and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. How will you have the energy to truly appreciate and enjoy everything all over again tomorrow without it? The errand list can wait. Have a nap and re-evaluate in a few hours.
NAMASTE.  
This article was originally published in the October - December 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine and is a prequel to Dr. Kim Graham's upcoming article "Lessons from Daisy (Part 2)".
[post_title] => Lessons from Daisy (Part 1) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lessons-daisy-part-1 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-16 10:49:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-16 18:49:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.reddooryoga.ca/?p=2163 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1820 [post_author] => 69 [post_date] => 2016-10-24 17:42:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 00:42:48 [post_content] => Here on the west coast of Canada, most people would probably agree that much of this summer felt like fall.  Constantly changing weather led many to feel ungrounded, anxious and just “a little off.”  We generally accept that our lives are constantly changing and yet many of us still get uncomfortable with the uncertainty that brings.  Check in with your body. Do you feel relaxed or tense when you read the word “change”? When I was a child, my grandmother would say to me, “Everything you need to know, you will learn by watching the garden.” Of course, at the time, I just thought she was a wonderful, crazy lady with an obsession for plants. I didn't know what she meant.  It is only in recent years having discovered my passions for both yoga and gardening that it did start to make sense. The garden is essentially a yoga mat.  Every single time we step into a garden or onto our mats, it is a new and different experience.  Observing a garden at each of the four seasons will offer a dramatic example of change.  However, looking deeper at the garden on a daily basis, perhaps several times a day, truly paying attention to even the minutia of the garden and how it transitions, will provide tremendous insight.  To those of us who feel uncomfortable with change it offers valuable grounding. It is not only a garden that may provide the benefit of insight gained through observation. Your yoga mat, a local park, woods, a tree outside on the street or even houseplants allow for the absorption of grounding energy.  Just as we connect with the earth when we come onto our yoga mat, we can find that connection by placing our hands in or on the earth, kneeling, squatting or standing (preferably barefoot) on the grass or bare earth.   Such actions allow the element of earth to be transferred into our energetic systems to counterbalance the air element which is prevalent during fall-like conditions.  Placing your hands on a tree, and even hugging it if you so desire, will give you access to the depths of its root system, bringing you “back down to earth” once more. As we move deeper into fall, the Vata Dosha (air or ether element) becomes increasingly apparent. The imparting of this grounding energy becomes more important in order to keep ourselves healthy and more readily equipped to handle changes, big or small.  Observing Vata at play in the garden or in nature bestows copious opportunity for self-study and reflection, as it is responsible for movement and the breaking down of many of the plants and the shedding of the leaves.  First watching the vibrant fall colours, indicating the recent peak of their summer (or above ground) growth, then the shedding of all that will no longer serve them as they turn their attention to their roots and growing beneath the surface for fall/winter.  Watching the plants as they return to the ground, saving resources to come up anew in the Spring and often with greater growth is a reflection of our own yoga practice. As we are intricately connected with the cycles of nature, observing and respecting what is taking place around us means that we are better able to honour our natural state of balance by flowing with nature rather than against it. “Ecology and spirituality are fundamentally connected, because deep ecological awareness, ultimately, is spiritual awareness.” (Fritjov Capra) [post_title] => A Garden of Knowledge [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-garden-of-knowledge [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-29 09:38:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-29 16:38:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.reddooryoga.ca/?p=1820 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 2 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2163 [post_author] => 154 [post_date] => 2016-12-14 23:48:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-15 07:48:10 [post_content] =>
Daisy came into my life as a pup four years ago from the SPCA, three weeks after losing my mixed-breed chow-chow to cancer. I had not planned on getting a puppy, but as we all know, things rarely work out how we first envision them to. Over the past four years we have been on many crazy adventures together. And Daisy, like any good teacher, never ceases to amaze, motivate, and challenge me. Even though I am sometimes a bit of a slow learner, Daisy is more patient with me than I tend to be with her, and this perhaps is her greatest lesson of all to me. Many of the things I try to teach my students about Yoga beyond the poses, I see so easily taught by my Guru Daisy. If you’ve read the article “The Irreverent Yogi” in the January to March, 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine, you will already know that Daisy performs Down-Dog better than any ‘human’ student I have. And that even though my students turn to me for direction and answers, I freely admit that I too am a student, learning as they are. I encourage my students to look for answers in all that surrounds them and remind them that teachers are everywhere (the idea behind “Namaste”). And yes, these teachers may even be in animal form. I often share Daisy’s wisdom with my students, and for anything they have learnt through Daisy’s sharing with me, and my with them, I am grateful. Now I will share with you some of the lessons I have learnt from my dog Daisy.
  Lesson Number 1:  Do Down-Dog and do it often! I have observed and learned that Down-Dog is as much a great stretch, as it is a friendly greeting or salutation, or as it is a way of physically reveling in joy. It is how Daisy greets the day, it is her response to her favorite words such as “park” or “run”, and it is how she finds her length again after a long curled up nap. The central inclusion of Down-Dog in the Salutation sequence makes so much sense to me now.   Lesson Number 2:  Follow Down-Dog with Up-Dog! Yes, Daisy's perfect Down-Dog is usually followed by a wonderful Up-Dog as well. The lesson here? Balance.  
Lesson Number 3:  Meditate Daisy has the amazing ability to tune out anything and everything when completely focused on say, a squirrel, bird, mosquito, or whatever else it may be. Virtually nothing can break her ‘meditative state’. Such focus is something I yearn for when trying to meditate, or even when just sitting quietly. The lesson? Be engaged, and empty your mind of all things except for that which you seek.  
Lesson Number 4:  Play Daisy has chased a ball, stick, mosquito, or whatever it is that moves and catches her fancy, thousands of times, but never seems to take it for granted. Every time is as exciting as the first to her. I believe she truly appreciates the opportunity to play, exercise, breathe deeply, and have fun. Take time every day to enjoy yourself. Greet the people you meet with genuine love and appreciation. Play with the kind of enthusiasm you felt the first time you ever participated in the activity. You will be surprised at how much more enjoyable it is.  
Lesson Number 5:  Drink water First thing in the morning and throughout the day. Especially after ‘play’, ‘meditation’, and ‘Down-Dog-Up-Dog’ vinyasas. Don’t worry if it spills all down your face or dribbles across the floor in long spindles from your lips when you walk away from your bowl...I mean sink. Didn’t it taste amazing?  
Lesson Number 6:  Have regular bowel movements and observe them Sounds gross right? But being on a regular schedule (also called “being regular”) and having some awareness around shape, consistency and smell are important indicators of your overall health. Dog owners KNOW when their companions are ill because they are ‘up close and personal’ with their faeces on a daily basis. The same should apply to you!  
Lesson Number 7:  Listen To the world and people around you. Hang on their every word like they are going to tell you something incredible (like ‘do you want to go to the park?’). You’ll be amazed at how much more engaged and alive you are in the world. Try however to keep your head from tilting to one side or the other when the person talking says a word you are unfamiliar with. Actually, on second thought, DO IT!  
Lesson Number 8:  Know your limits Work on releasing the ego and clearly know what you are able or unable to do. Daisy never goes beyond her abilities in exercise or within pack dynamics. Most call that instinct, but I see it as Yogic grace. I try to be vigilant in my own actions when we are out exercising together to be sure that my ego is not pushing us both beyond what we should be doing. There have been times when Daisy has looked at me like “c’mon, you’ve got to be kidding”, and I’ve looked back at her with “do I look like I’m kidding?”....then got injured. Silly student.  
Lesson Number 9:  Eat fresh green foods I don’t know what grass tastes like, but I’m seriously thinking about trying it. Every spring, all dogs, including Daisy, graze on the fresh new young grass. In Chinese medicine, spring time in particular is associated with the liver energy and green foods. And as animals are more connected to the natural world than we tend to be, I say, ‘salad anyone?'  
Lesson Number 10:  Rest Possibly the hardest of all of Daisy’s lessons for me to learn. Rest is essential to repair and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. How will you have the energy to truly appreciate and enjoy everything all over again tomorrow without it? The errand list can wait. Have a nap and re-evaluate in a few hours.
NAMASTE.  
This article was originally published in the October - December 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine and is a prequel to Dr. Kim Graham's upcoming article "Lessons from Daisy (Part 2)".
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DIGITAL PRACTICE - The Yogic Way® Magazine (Tag: Ecology)

The Yogic Way

Lessons from Daisy (Part 1)

By Kim Graham Posted December 14, 2016

Daisy came into my life as a pup four years ago from the SPCA, three weeks after losing my mixed-breed chow-chow to cancer. I had not planned on getting a puppy, but as we all know, things rarely work out how we first envision them to. Over the past four years we have been on many crazy adventures together. And Daisy, like any good teacher, never ceases to amaze, motivate, and challenge me. Even though I am sometimes a bit of a slow learner, Daisy is more patient with me than I tend to be with her, and this perhaps is her greatest lesson of all to me. Many of the things I try to teach my students about Yoga beyond the poses, I see so easily taught by my Guru Daisy. If you’ve read the article “The Irreverent Yogi” in the January to March, 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine, you will already know that Daisy performs Down-Dog better than any ‘human’ student I have. And that even though my students turn to me for direction and answers, I freely admit that I too am a student, learning …

A Garden of Knowledge

By Naomi Chester Posted October 24, 2016

Here on the west coast of Canada, most people would probably agree that much of this summer felt like fall.  Constantly changing weather led many to feel ungrounded, anxious and just “a little off.”  We generally accept that our lives are constantly changing and yet many of us still get uncomfortable with the uncertainty that brings.  Check in with your body. Do you feel relaxed or tense when you read the word “change”? When I was a child, my grandmother would say to me, “Everything you need to know, you will learn by watching the garden.” Of course, at the time, I just thought she was a wonderful, crazy lady with an obsession for plants. I didn't know what she meant.  It is only in recent years having discovered my passions for both yoga and gardening that it did start to make sense. The garden is essentially a yoga mat.  Every single time we step into a garden or onto our mats, it is a new and different experience.  Observing a garden at each of the four seasons will offer a …