This past summer, I drove out to a lavender farm just outside my city to do some yoga. What was unique about this experience wasn’t my doing yoga out of doors. I regularly did sun salutations at the beach on my summer vacation, and even with friends in my backyard. What truly set this yoga experience apart from the rest was the calming and constant buzz surrounding my vinyasa flow. That buzz was thanks to thousands of honeybees busy at work on the fragrant lavender plants, which encircled our yoga practice. It was hearing, seeing, feeling, and literally being a part of that symbolic connection between honeybees and lavender fields for as far as the eyes could see.
If you’re into yoga and you’re an animal lover, chances are your social media news feeds have been inundated with cute images of people doing downward dog surrounded by boisterous shelter pups, cat pose amongst purring felines, and boat pose with goats (really, it’s the best I could do!). Not only does a cute picture of your pal doing plank with a bunny perched on her back win the Internet this week—doing yoga among real, live, adorable animals has some pretty positive benefits as well…
1. Creating Authentic Connection
In the age of (many would argue) synthetic connections thanks to our smartphones and social media accounts, many folks are looking to get back to basics with a real, honest-to-goodness, life grounding experience. Many find that in yoga.
By adding an animal (be it a goat, a horse, a dog, a cat, or a bunny rabbit), the experience takes us from vinyasa-ing in a sterile gym to stretching and grounding and breathing in the presence of nature the symbolizes and recaptures the innocence and simplicity of nature. According to Kundalini yoga master and founder of the RA MA INstitute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology, Guru Jagat, first-hand experience doing yoga with animals, establishes “a connection to something deeper than our smartphones…that’s where animals come in”.