As a horrible meditator, my dog has helped me slow down my brain and become more centered.
A while ago, I wrote my post Self-Help through a Dog? Can it be?, that you can improve your life with your dog. Although there are many ways a dog can help you on your self-help journal, one particular way is through meditation – or muttitation.
The benefits of meditation are difficult to refute. A podcast is dedicated to it (10% Happier with Dan Harris). Successful entrepreneurs make it a daily part of their day. There are numerous articles and research that explain its benefits.
So I tried jumping on the bandwagon – and I failed horribly.
I have tried guided meditations which are slightly better. Normal meditation makes me fall asleep (literally). I can never turn off my brain! Then I get frustrated, annoyed, and stop doing it. Then I start again a few months later once I realize (again) that meditation would probably improve my life.
And – who has the time? At the moment, some days I have to leave at 6:45 in the morning to get to work. With having to make breakfast, lunches, walk the dog, get ready myself, it is hard to want to meditate before leaving to go to work. I am way too exhausted when I get home to not only make dinner but also prepare breakfast and lunch.
Then I realized – why not be more effective and find a way to meditate while I walk the dog?
The Benefits of Muttitation
It has not only saved me time in the mornings, but I get into the best mindset before going to work – the time when I find I get the most benefits. On top of that, I am able to bond with my dog instead of just thinking about my worries for the day. Dogs live in the moment, which is what meditation is. This time allows me to share this with him and understand him better, as well as improve my own mind.
Like yoga, this also gets me moving and allows me to pay attention to my body. Instead of thinking about all my problems during the day, my brain slows down and I only focus on the present moment.
How I Muttitate
1) Do not have headphones. Instead, pay attention to the sounds around you.
I pay attention to the birds, the sound of the wind, the jingling of my dogs’ tags. The cars leaving early for the day. The cars passing by on the highway beside.
2) Be mindful of your body – how does it feel?
I use this morning to scan my body as well as my dog’s body. Do I have pain? Do I have energy? Is my dog looking okay? How does my sweater feel on my skin? How does the wind feel on my face? Does he look happy? For example, if I am still sleepy I know to bring along extra lemon water for the road.
3) Pay attention to your surroundings
I focus on the light and where it is hitting. I sometimes focus on the colors around – the shades of green in the grass, the color of the roof, are there cars about to pull out?
4) Center yourself
This may seem odd, but I focus on a sensation in my chest. To me, that is my center. I feel the energy there. This stops me from thinking about my problems or something that will happen later on in the day.
This not only works on your walks – but can also work if you go to the dog park! I usually walk around the dog park and do this and – surprisingly – my dog and I are more in tune.
Overall, meditating with your dog is a way for those who have a hard time to meditate get into the habit. It is also a great way to bond with your dog and clear your head before you go to work. In all honesty, it has also helped with some behavioral issues on the walk. Muttitation saves you time if you have a busy morning routine, and helps you focus on yourself and your dog – a moment of peace for your day.
Do you meditate? Have you tried meditating with your dog? Please leave your comments below if you have tried it and what your benefits have been! I love to hear your stories!
If you would like to learn more about Muttitation, I recommend taking a look at the following links!