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Shannon Brady

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What the dogs are teaching me this week: stop talking

DollyIt’s Wednesday, and I’m midway through a week of teaching yoga and running around with Niko, Dolly and Astro at Main Line Animal Rescue. Not too different from any other week of late. Except that talking, listening to others talk, and thinking about what to talk about next is starting to grate.

Finally. Yea, finally. I’m getting how cool life can be, how present we can be, how creative and inspiring we can be, when we simply stop talking.

It’s hard. As a yoga teacher I want so much for my students to know why the outer blade of their back foot roots down into the mat while their front knee stays over the ankle while the pit of their belly draws in and up while the face softens while the arms reach up and fingers radiate energy out in Warrior One pose.  Are you still with me? Of course not. Who can absorb and integrate all that??

It’s hard to listen to so-called experts slug it out on ‘news’ channels over whatever issue triggers the meanest string of viewer feedback, lacing their comments with personal jabs at each other and calling it analysis. Hard listening to the one-way conversation between Mr. Know-It-All-I’m-The-Top-Producer-This-Month and his silent captive table mate looking for an escape at my local Starbucks (note to self: ear buds next time).

Hard to have a ready-made answer when the random person I’ve just met insists hearing how I could possibly be a vegan. (Sir/ma’am – I barely know you. I’d rather not talk about it.)

Spending three days in a row this week with my dog pals has been a glorious respite from empty talk. I didn’t need to tell Niko I was missing my family in Seattle like crazy. He crinkled his forehead (that bit of German Shepard in him used to beautiful effect), looked me in the eye, and snuggled in close to provide some comfort. Astro didn’t need to speak a word to convey how much he wanted to please me in Petiquette class – after successfully lying down on command, he licked my face and wagged his tail before I had a chance to reward him with a treat. And Dolly let it be known, without words, that there was simply no point in rushing her anywhere. This older girl was on dog-time, not Shannon-time.

Now here’s my work: taking all that I’ve noticed and learned in these few days into class tomorrow. Allowing my yogis to find the sweetness of Warrior One pose without a bunch of words. I’m pretty sure they’ll appreciate the verbal break.



2 comments on “What the dogs are teaching me this week: stop talking

  1. Lovely, lovely post! Thank you. So relate to the non-verbal discourse with dogs. And also to the NOISE I sometimes feel that I generate when I’m teaching! Silence is truly golden, and thanks for the reminder to say less rather than more.

  2. I recently took class with an instructor who spoke the entire time. She was very alignment focused so I understand how she could have felt there was a lot of explaining to do – but I much prefer a class with less talking. It’s about the finding the balance…

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