Posts Tagged ‘tips’

The surprisingly easy way to benefit your animal’s health

Sound has a profound effect on the entire mind-body physiology.
–Deepak Chopra

From Gregorian monks and Tibetan Buddhist monks to Hindu priests and even Native American shamans and medicine men—the ancient practice of chanting has historically been a universal way for spiritual seekers to create a peaceful space and achieve therapeutic healing. And it still is today.

Chanting is a wonderful way to “consciously breathe”—to unite our breath with sound in a way that is very healing for our emotional selves. Research has shown that chanting lowers blood pressure, and even just listening to chanting can help reduce our stress by calming our nervous system. Chanting also creates an inner feeling of well-being that radiates outward—meaning our animals can feel it, too.

Peace in ourselves, peace in the world. —Thich Nhat Hanh

Heavy emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger and sadness are very small and constricted. Chanting, on the other hand, is a very expansive exercise. The more expansive you become, the more easily you can feel emotions without being knocked over by them.

Your animals will feel this expansiveness as a tranquil, serene balance and will come forward to share it with you. They will want to be a part of this strong, balanced space that you radiate.

If we accept that sound is vibration, and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears, but through every cell in our bodies. —Dr. Mitchell Gaynor

Here are two ways you can use chanting for healing with your animals:

1. Chanting the first Reiki mantra: The “oh” sound is associated with the navel area, the “oo” sound with the solar plexus, and the “ay” sound with the heart/head. So this chant can help to move your energy from the earth up—just as if you are a beautiful tree who is nurtured from the earth, and growing and expanding upward. This is how all creatures on earth grow, from the earth up—and we must remember that this is also our true essence. When we remember this, we can more easily deal with the difficult situations we and our animals may face. To chant the first Reiki mantra, follow along with Frans Stiene, co-founder of the International House of Reiki:

Your thoughts are your message to the world. Just as the rays are the messages of the sun. —Amit Ray

2. The Japanese Medicine Buddha Chant: There is a long Buddhist tradition of chanting this mantra for the healing benefit of animals. I have created this special audio for people to listen to (and chant along) with their animals for healing. Here, you can take a listen and feel the energy during this healing circle at a recent SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) retreat:

Maureen Petras of Reikicares-Animal Reiki in Penn Valley, California, uses this Japanese Medicine Buddha Chant to help shelter dogs. “[This chant] is amazing,” she says. “I used it recently with an unsettled puppy at the shelter I volunteer at. It was like I flipped a switch, and he went into a deep sense of peace within seconds of me starting to chant quietly. The rest of the dogs became quiet and relaxed as well—so quiet and relaxed that when I was finished with the cats in another room, I walked by the dog kennels on the way out to say goodbye, [and there was] not one bark. That has not happened once since I started a month ago. Just happy peace!”

And according to my student Caroline Thomas of Hoof and Paw Holistic Therapies in Chelmsford, England, “The chanting truly helps me to let go and to just ‘be.’ It helps with my breathing, and the animals love the grounded energy that it creates.” She reports that the Medicine Buddha Chant, in particular, helps tremendously in her work with the sanctuary horses at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary. “Using [this] chant, I have been able to work with a horse called Marcus who was beaten so badly, that when he came to Remus, he stood in the exact same position in the Remus stable for days, as he was so scared to move. My relationship with Marcus now is one of trust and respect. I hold the ‘Reiki’ space—chanting along with Kathleen’s audio—and stand motionlessly in the field. During these moments, he will often come and nestle his head on my shoulders. I refrain from touching him, as I know that he does not want me to touch him. He respects me for this and now looks for me while I walk through the fields.”

No worries if you’re a chanting newbie. Here are five great tips for beginners!

Tell me: Have you tried chanting with your animals?

How to ground yourself when times get tough

We all have bad days. Some of us have bad weeks or even months. Recently, I went through a tough period of time—twice—during treatments for breast cancer. One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of learning how to ground myself so I can stay strong, especially on my down days, the days I need it most. Here are three rock-solid techniques for staying grounded (even on your worst days):

1. Connect with nature. One of the best things you can do for your well-being every single day is to go outside. So … ditch the treadmill and make a point to connect with nature. Breathe in fresh air. Feel the sun on your skin. Take in the beauty of the natural environment all around you. Do some gardening if that’s your thing. This simple step (which also happens to be supported by science) instantly helps us to feel better and is known to lower stress, reduce depression and even boost your immune system. Sunshine, too, also has its share of health benefits, including a wonderful endorphin surge. If you’re like me and you love the sounds of water—crashing waves, trickling streams—it could be you’re feeling positive vibes from all the negative ions being released. (For more, read up on forest bathing.)

2. Meditate. I like to sit with my animals and meditate, but you can meditate any way you wish. It also doesn’t have to take a lot of time, though daily practice definitely provides positive effects on our bodies and minds. The best part is, according to various studies, meditation helps us manage anxiety, depression, stress and the like, all the while improving blood pressure, cellular health, our immune system and more. Next time you find yourself stressed, try these tips for achieving peace through meditation.

3. Work up a sweat. When you’re feeling down, finding the motivation to exercise can be really hard! But sometimes we just have to force ourselves. Find your motivation (perhaps cute new jogging sneakers or the excited tail wags of your pooch) and make it happen. Keep in mind exercise is most likely to happen if you’re doing something you enjoy. So take your dog for a walk, do some yoga poses, go jogging, join a Pilates class, ride your bike to the store or coach your kid’s softball team. Just get those endorphins flowing!

These techniques work great for me. But please share: What are your secrets for staying grounded when times get tough?

5 pet safety tips for the holidays

Dear friends, I just adore how you treat your animals not like pets, but as genuine family members. That’s why I’m sharing the following tips—so we can make sure our fur babies don’t get into too much trouble while we are busy feasting and merry-making! You might already know everything on this list, but it doesn’t hurt to take a fresh look and keep the following in mind. Here’s to you and your animals having a happy (and healthy) holiday!

1. Just say no to holiday scraps: We all know not to give table scraps to our furry four-legged friends, but sometimes that begging look in their eyes is just too tempting! If you simply must share something special, cook up a nutritious treat that’s safe for dogs and cats, such as thoroughly washed and baked carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes or green beans that are plain and unsalted. (Onion and garlic are no-nos!) Dogs also delight in the occasional dollop of lip-smacking peanut butter. But no matter what, keep pets away from all that chocolate lying around, or you just may end up in the emergency room.