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San Diego Class Shows Dogs Are Naturals At Meditation

Amanda Ringnalda and her dog Pepper during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
Amanda Ringnalda and her dog Pepper during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.
San Diego Class Shows Dogs Are Naturals At Meditation
Meditation is becoming more common in helping people learn to calm down and worry less. But a six-week Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class in La Jolla is taking the practice a step further, teaching meditation to dogs alongside their human companions.

You probably will not be suppressed about another meditation class starting up in San Diego. The practice is been one more comment tell people from all walks of life but what about meditation for dogs? Here is the story. Breath in. And out. Open your eyes whenever you are ready. Breathing for mindfulness and tranquility a small group dollars weekly for a meditation class in La Jolla. There are a few extra guests that make this class a little bit different. A group of dogs lying near their humans who are sitting on patients on the floor. Yes this is a meditation class for dogs. Julie is with her big shaggy dog metal line. They think it is supercool and they want to do it to you. How I mindfully approach what I think they need how they are run into the door and embarking and figure out instead of just yelling at them his anxiety are you nervous -- I think it is just kind of a more humane lovely way to be an animal owner. The six week classes motel pumas better understand their animals through meditation and mindful practice. The teacher also instructs attendees on how to identify the dogs three different energies believed to circulate knowing the dogs energy needs humans can provide them with the appropriate sounds which is whether they like the common music. They also learned to massage her dogs. They really loved this meeting and see whether they prefer calming or invigorating spells. But definitely will turn away. When it comes to meditation dogs are naturals. Lives in a state of presence which means that is what meditation really is and releasing the memories in the past and that pots in the future. They are so pleasant and relaxed that they spend much of the time that they have to sleep. The dogs meditative trance is broken. -- I sometimes Reporter: That have our minds with that is just remote like dogs when we would all be broken in class. They have gone from the lectern and try to much more comfortable in the setting and more comfortable with people coming up on them. The class is more about making the humans, and teaching them how to better understand their dogs. Julie the cumin companion to the big shaggy dog says it has boosted their bond. By the end of the class of this anti-means human and canine alike have explored their senses and sat in the present moment. No barking, no whining. Just a state of calm KPBS news.

Meditators sat on the wooden floor in a tranquil room. They were quiet. They were peaceful. They were resting in the present moment, with no thoughts of the past or future distracting them.

They were also dogs.

San Diego Class Shows Dogs Are Naturals At Meditation

"Breath in, and out," instructor Amanda Ringnalda said softly. "Open your eyes whenever you're ready."

A few of the dogs kept their eyes closed, apparently having drifted off to sleep.

Meditation practice is becoming more and more common to help people from all religious backgrounds, or with no religion at all, learn to calm down and worry less.

But the six-week Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class takes it a step further, teaching meditation to dogs and their human companions.

The class meets in the Balanced Mind Meditation Center at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla. Julie Potiker built the meditation room and brought the dog classes to the center.

She's also attending with her big shaggy briard, Madeline, and said she gets quite a reaction when she tells people about the class.

"They think it's a riot and it's super cool, and then they want to do it, too," she said.

Potiker said the class has helped her be more calm, and that Madeline and her other dogs then pick up on her energy.

Julie Potiker and her briard, Madeline, during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
Julie Potiker and her briard, Madeline, during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.

"If they're running to the door and they're barking, instead of just yelling at them, I think, oh is it anxiety, are you nervous, are you trying to protect me? What's going on?" she said. "I think it's just more of a humane, lovely way to be an animal owner."

The class is meant to help humans better understand their animals and learn how to care for them by understanding their body, mind and spirit, said Ringnalda. She said meditation and mindfulness practice is key to that understanding.

"To open people up to a more expanded understanding of wellbeing for themselves and their dogs," she said. "You can't underestimate the impact and the power of that relationship."

During one recent class, she instructed participants on how to identify their dogs' doshas, or three different energies, or constitutions, believed to govern the body and mind.

"I have no idea what Elloise's dosha is, because she's just whackadoo," Potiker said.

Knowing their dog's energy means humans can provide them with the sounds, smells and foods that best fit their needs, Ringnalda explained.

She demonstrated by allowing the dogs to sniff frankincense, sandalwood and lavender to see what they responded to best. One little dachshund named Noodle turned her nose away from the last two, but licked the paper covered with frankincense, suggesting she may find that aroma balancing for her constitution.

Noodle sniffs a piece of paper covered with frankincense scent during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
Noodle sniffs a piece of paper covered with frankincense scent during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.

Owners also learned to massage their dogs, which Ringnalda's rescue dog Pepper seemed to especially enjoy.

When it comes to meditation, Ringnalda said dogs are naturals.

"Dogs are kind of in a natural state of presence, because ultimately that's what meditation really is, is having your mind fully in this present moment, releasing any memories of the past and thoughts or apprehensions of the future, but instead just be fully in the present moment," she said. "And dogs are so good and natural and instinctively able to do that."

The dogs in the class were often so present and relaxed that they spent much of the time slowly drifting off to sleep.

But when the dachshund Noodle joined the class late, the dogs' meditative trance was broken. They all got up to sniff Noodle while she made her rounds in the room, checking out the meditation cushions and anything else left on the floor.

Ringnalda said breaks in the dogs’ meditative states are also a part of being present.

If a dog starts barking or whining during class, "we just go with it, just like any other thought during your meditation," she said.

"I sometimes joke that if our minds would let us just emote more, like dogs would, we would all be barking in class," she added with a laugh. "We've just been taught to be more proper."

Pepper meditates, or maybe sleeps, during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
Pepper meditates, or maybe sleeps, during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.

She said she's seen big changes in the canine attendees in just the short time they've been meeting.

"I've seen them go from quite reluctant and shy and reserved to much more comfortable in this setting, more comfortable with people coming up to them," she said. "The dogs have been really receptive and open to these new experiences in their life, and you've just seen a calmness come."

But really, the class is more about helping the humans to be calmer, and teaching them to recognize how much influence they have over their dogs behavior and health, Ringnalda said.

Julie Potiker, the human companion to the big shaggy Madeline, said it's boosted their bond.

"It helps me to remember to respect her as a being, as a sentient being," she said.

By the end of class, all the sentient beings, human and canine alike, had explored their senses and sat in the present moment. No one barked or whined, and everybody seemed very calm.

A dog meditation statue sits on a shelf during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
A dog meditation statue sits on a shelf during a Wellbeing for Dogs + Their Humans class, Feb. 22, 2017.