Tuesday, February 25, 2014


“Dog Breath” or Kukkura Pranayama

As a yoga teacher who specializes in relaxation techniques I’ve taught Kapalabhati, Viloma, Ujjaiyi, and my favorite Alternate Nostril Breathing (which will help you survive many crises).

As a dog lover I know dogs are great relaxation aids and enrich body, mind, and spirit.

Walk a dog to get your body moving
Sit and pet a dog to calm you
Play with a dog to create joy

Here are instructions for a Dog Petting Breathing Technique
·         Find a quiet comfortable spot
·         Place hand on dog’s head
·         Inhale
·         Begin to Exhale
·         Slowly move your hand down the dog’s neck and back while silently counting to three
·         When you reach the end of the dog begin the inhale
·         Repeat

It may take a few breaths to settle the dog and to find your pace. Breathe in with the inhale and out with the exhale. Begin to lengthen both the exhale and the inhale to at least a count of three for each. Let your belly move with your breath. Close your eyes if you wish. Continue as long as necessary.

Your dog will enjoy these breathing practice timeouts as much as treats.

Adapting for the size of the dog - Breathing with a Chihuahua will differ from breathing with a Great Dane. For tiny dogs the movement has to be very, very slow. Or alternatively experiment with more than one petting movement on the exhale. Exceptionally large dogs may take more than one breath to complete the journey.

No dog? Borrow one or use this practice with cats, horses, and other warm blooded pets (or a human friend.).

Enjoy and Keep Petting!

Recovered (The Shapeshifters Library Book 3) is a cozy cross country canine adventure from Ohio to New Mexico, filled with ancient mounds, dog-catchers, rescue groups, and wolfdog issues. Come along with Bliss, children’s librarian and white greyhound shifter, and reformed werewolf Harry as they search for the most valuable library on the planet, chased by Sybilla and Blaze, werewolves crazed to stop them.

Excerpt from Recovered: 

In one smooth motion, Bliss slid off the bed and onto her meditation cushion, folded into full lotus and breathed into her heart center. In minutes her eyes flew back open. It was one of those mornings no amount of meditation or yoga was going to make her feel like herself. She counted her chakras and found nine instead of eight. That tail chakra had appeared again, unbidden.
She stood and pulled on her baggiest sweatpants, stuffed in the three-foot-long white tail, an appendage like a fifth wheel or an extra nose that didn’t quite feel like it belonged to her. She’d gotten used to these unexpected partial shifts and tried to accept them as blessings. Finding a t-shirt that read “Read Banned Books to Kids” and her running shoes, she dressed and moved lightly down the stairs, skipping the creaky step that would wake her neighbors. Opening the stained glass front door, she inhaled nippy morning air.
She heard a yip and looked toward the park. In the shadow of the biggest oak, a dark gray shape moved. She jogged towards Harry as he galloped towards her and with a bound planted his feet on her shoulders, careful not to knock her over in his exuberance. His eyes shown, his body quivered and his tail wagged. He opened his mouth and let his tongue slide up her cheek.
“Harry, you big silly.” She wiped cooling dog drool from her face and noticed his neck and face hair was growing out white and had naturally fluffed out to twice its original length. “Your markings will be so much like your Old English Sheepdog uncle, when your coat grows out.” She stroked the hair on the top of his head.
He jumped down. “Thanks for noticing. It’s quite a relief not to have those monthly touchups Sybilla insisted on. She always wanted me to look more wolfish and cover my Sheepdog roots.”
Bliss smiled. “I like it very much. And no toxic hair dye will seep into to your system. You must feel so much more natural and alive.”
He grinned up at her. “You make me feel more natural and alive.” With a shy gesture he turned and picked up a red nylon leash from under the tree. “I brought this in case you wanted to run along the river path.”
“I hate to put you on a leash, but the park has rules.” She bent and slipped the collar over his neck and attached the leash. “Tell me if it’s too tight. I don’t want to hurt you.”
He shook his head, “You could never hurt me.”

Available for purchase:

Amber Polo writes dog-shifter fantasy to relax readers. “Recovered” (The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 3) is her latest in the series filled with dog-shifting librarians and book-burning werewolves. 

She’s also known for Relaxing the Writer, the book filled with suggestions to keep your life in a healthy balance a how-to-do in 20-minute relaxation, Relaxing the Writer Relaxation (and MP3 download).

Find Amber Polo:

For a chance to win your choice of one of the books in The Shapeshifters’ Library, a copy of Relaxing the Writer, a few dog biscuits, and a tuff of wolf fur, leave a comment about how your pet helps you relax you. The winner will be picked at the end of The Write Pet series. (She’d also love for you to join her newsletter list.)


  1. Thanks Melissa, for letting me join the fun.

    1. Hi Amber,
      Thank you for participating in The Write Pet. I don't actually own a dog but cats can be good for relaxation. I've observed that if you pick up a cat while you're stressed, you wind up with a stiff cat. No doubt due to stress transference. :-)

  2. I have four dogs so I'll be trying your relaxation technique,
    great for me and them! Great post...Mary Kennedy Eastham

  3. Thanks for sharing this. My dogs help me relax and also give me a reason to get up and do something.