By: Maggie Umberger
Fun fact about Bare Feet Power Yoga: Sometimes, dogs find our studio before their humans do. As dog owners round the corner from Morgan to Monroe with their pups leading the way on their daily walks, dogs sense that they’re welcome inside Bare Feet (and that there are DEFINITELY treats somewhere behind that mysterious front desk if they just poke their noses inside). In fact, we met some students who are now regulars through our mutual friends – their canine BFFs.
And although we know the dog treats are delicious, we think there might be an even greater reason why dogs are drawn to us at Bare Feet Power Yoga – and why all of us at the studio love them back just as much. Dogs and yoga go hand in hand, if you think about it. We’d even argue that they’re some of the best model yogis we can name. Not sure what we mean? These are the four things we can learn from dogs to be better yogis ourselves.
How to embody love without judgment
Growing up, my dog whined every time we started making moves to leave the house. He hated to be left alone. But upon our return, however, many hours later, we’d find him wagging his tail, eager as ever to greet us. And that’s the thing about dogs – they hold zero grudges and leave judgment at the door. The next time you spend time with a pup, take a moment to notice their affection for whatever is captivating their attention. Whole-hearted, unwavering, true love is evident from their very core.
How to live in the moment
Speaking of watching a doggo love whatever he’s doing in the moment, you can bet your furry friends are 100 percent INTO it. Living in the present is a dog’s motto; it’s all they’ve ever known. Unlike humans who have the ability to be productive, to create to-do lists and complete them, dogs only know what’s happening in the moment. They don’t know where they’ll be taken next, but they’re not preoccupied by that fact, either. The next time you catch yourself worried about what’s to come, ask yourself if that worry is serving you in the now. You might even ask, “what would my dog do?” to get to the bottom of how to live more in the present of right where you are in any given instant.
How to stay open to new things, people and places
Whenever a dog pops into our studio space, guided by the scent of a looming treat somewhere in our vicinity, owners usually rush in behind them, whispering, “I’m sorry!” to each person whom their dog made an acquaintance with in the lobby on his way in. While I’m not exactly advocating for jumping on new friends or licking their faces, it’s admirable the way dogs can be open to meeting new faces. Rather than approaching humans with reservation, the dogs that enter Bare Feet – no matter if they’ve ever set foot inside before or not – walk in as if they are already our best friends. And before long, they actually are.
The same goes for anything new that dogs are presented with. Dogs acclimate quickly to newness. Rather than spending time getting used to what’s new, they move on to embracing it.
How to prioritize playfulness and joy
Beyond daily tasks to focus on eating and sleeping, dogs seek playtime. They are driven by an urge to find joy. Just think about a dog walking lazily down the street, minding his own business, when out of the corner of his eye he sees a squirrel. The opportunity for a chase! Suddenly, nothing else matters. And when dogs see something they want, or something that would bring them joy, they go after it unapologetically.
Take a moment to reflect. When was the last time you went after what you wanted unapologetically? When was the last time you boldly made playtime your sole focus? The next time you watch a dog chase his tail or run after a piece of stray trash on the street, acknowledge the beauty in that instance.
Here at Bare Feet, we’re kindred spirits with our furry neighbors of West Loop, and darn proud of it. Because every time we welcome a pup through our studio doors, we’re reminded of all the things we have to learn about being a better yogi through their loving eyes.