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April 2015 – Animal Connections

Whether you have an animal in your house or not they are everywhere.  They are in commercials, on YouTube and often found in our speech.  Think of the common animal sayings.  She is as busy as bee or is foxy.  He is a rat, a skunk, a weasel.  It is a bull market.  I am the black sheep of the family.  We may want to be brave as lion or clever as a fox.  Many authors use animals for characters to teach lessons.  Growing up I loved Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty and the Incredible Journey.  On my list to read soon is a best seller by Benjamin Hoff using Winne the Pooh to teach Taoism.

“Lots of people talk to animals…. Not very many listen, though…. That’s the problem.”

Benjamin Hoff,
The Tao of Pooh

Historically around the world people have looked to animals as symbols or signs.  Native American cultures hold we all have a totem animal and different animals appear to us as guides depending on our current direction in life.  Is there an animal that you have always identified with?

Some animals have a very similar meaning across all cultures.  Universally birds are messengers.  One of the most well known examples is after the flood the dove telling Noah that land is finally close by.  Once when I was contemplating a job change, I asked for a sign to see a crane driving into work if I was meant to quit work.  In the next week, on my drive into work, I saw a building with a brand new big construction crane by it.  I had a hard time deciding if that counted.  I also realized the Universe has a sense of humor.  P.S., I quit the job and that was the right move.  Just this week I got a swan in a meditation.  I think of swans as transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.  When I looked up the meaning, swans occupy water, air and land so balance came up.  Yup, I do need more of that.

We are also connect to animals in yoga.  Many of the asanas (poses) represent animals.  Here are some asanas and some of the many benefits.

  • Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) for hamstring flexibility.
  • Cat and Cow Pose (Bidalasana and Bhujangasana) for flexibility of the spine.
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): A pose to strengthen the back.
  • Pigeon Pose (Rajakapotasana): for stretching hips and gluteus maximus.
  • Crow Pose (Bakasana): balance on hands arm strength.

Over the next few weeks I am going to focus on any new animal I want to identify with or if animals have any new messages for me.