Benefits of Meditation:
- Scientifically proven to reduce anxiety
- Improves cognition
- Suppresses irrelevant distractions by upping your Alpha Rhythm, the thing that keeps information flowing to you cells
- It actually increases your brain size in the areas that control positive emotions! Hence more good feels, less anxious ones.
Types of Meditation:
- Many more!
What is Meditation?:
For the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on mindfulness meditation. In my opinion, it is the easiest for a beginner to do AND it’s super easy to incorporate your dog into your daily ‘live longer and prosper-er’ practice.
But first… we need a quick lesson on what it means to do mindfulness meditation:
Mindfulness meditation is really lovely, mostly because you can’t screw it up. When you’re done, you’re done. In short, you are using one of your five sense to really feel, touch, taste, smell, see, hear something in it’s entirety. To train your brain to focus on one thing. It is a quick way to “defrag” (who remembers doing this on a PC 1998?!) your brain. By focusing on one object with one sense for an extended period of time, the rest of the crap in your mind falls away. This is where pupperton comes in 🙂
Using Your Dog in Your Meditation Practice:
When you both are sitting down together and relaxed is when you should do this. Since we’re working with live animals here, we don’t want to force the situation. Obvi.
- The best time to meditate and easiest for you to use your dog, is to do it when you first wake up or at some point while you’re winding down for bed. I don’t suggest doing IN bed because then you fall asleep and get discouraged and never come back. And we want you to come back.
- Lie down on the floor or couch with your dog and get everyone relaxed. We will use touch as our experience to savor, but you could put on essential oils and use smell, or you could watch their belly as they breathe.
- Put your hands on your dog and close your eyes. Maybe you are rubbing their belly or that spot behind their ears? Slowly, yet deliberately, stroke your dog’s fur. Feel every single follicle of fur between your fingers. Only let yourself think about how their fur feels in your hands. If you drift off in thought on how their fur feels scratchy today, or that they need a bath, just gently refocus on the sensation of fur. These are technically all “judgements”. No judgies, just feelies. Also try not to judge yourself that you suck and you’re doing it wrong, just simply refocus on the feelies. You can also place your hands on your dog’s belly and focus on the breath moving up and down.
Set a timer for five minutes at first. It will be pretty hard to get past one minute without drifting off into thought. Don’t judge yourself, just get right back to it.
As you can get into it easier and as your dog allows, add one minute to your timer each day. Eventually you will have trained your mind how to focus and how to your heartbeat to slow–which you will see in your waking life! And your telomeres will thank you!