March 1, 2012

3 legged dog yoga collective

Three is a magic number.
Yes it is. It's a magic number.
Somewhere in the ancient mystic trinity,
You get three, as a magic number.

--schoolhouse rocks--

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                                                 bunny

     When you first meet Bunny, the resident canine and elder stateswoman of 3 Legged Dog Yoga Collective, in Northside, you may scarcely notice that she is different from most dogs.  You'll be gently coaxing your hips just a little deeper into pigeon pose.  As you turn your head towards the front window of the charming and peaceful Hamiltion Ave. location, she will meet your gaze and you will hear the gentle thwap of her tail against the floor.  Then, you will notice that there is a shape missing from Bunny.  Where most dogs have four of something, she has only three.  Bunny has spent nearly half of her life in this way, having lost one of her front limbs to cancer.  But, four minus one is three, and that's a magic number.  Yes it is.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                  i love you/i love you too

     The serendipitous part of Bunny's "tail", is that, in addition to being one of the sweetest pooches around, her person in life, is Ms. Donna Jay R.  Donna is not the type of person who lets a friend struggle without helping, so, she did all of the right things for her sick pal, and, Bunny is still here, some five years later, at the ripe old age of twelve.  And now, because love and tenacity pulled Bunny through that dreadful disease, when the students in one of Donna's classes raise one leg and glide from Downward Facing Dog into 3-Legged Dog, they are in the company of the real deal.  

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                                            donna jay

     Donna Jay began a life which would be devoted to motion, fluidity, and the wellness of other people, as a young dancer, in California.  Born in Pittsburgh, she would eventually call Cincinnati home, but only after vacillating between Ohio and California several times.  Her canine cohort entered the scene during one of the westerly phases of her life, when one day Donna felt compelled to rescue Bunny from a presumed drug dealer.  How like her.  Since that fateful day, the two have been inseparable, Bunny at Donna's side on the long journeys from the west to midwest and back again, and, on the short journeys from home to yoga studio.  After all, that's the meaning of faithfulness, isn't it: being present on the long journeys as well as the short ones? 

 photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                                             donna jay

     Four years ago, Donna made the decision to let her roots inch their way a bit deeper into Cincinnati soil by opening 3 Legged Dog, in the former location of hair salon, the Northside Chop Shop.  Being a yoga collective, the studio now offers a variety of styles taught by several different instructors, all of whom pay a monthly rental fee for their time in the space: a very communal way of running a shop.

     I myself have stood at the top of my mat in the cozy and welcoming place.  I have closed my eyes and listened to my own breath.  I have paid attention to the vital parts of me which are so often overlooked, drowned in the noise of the daily, conscious mind.  There is something so peaceful about this place, about these others around me, about this unassuming pooch napping by the front door.  I have had these thoughts in that very space.  The experience brings us back to small things that matter from the depths of large things which don't.  The light from the front windows of our homes, the sounds of our loved ones breathing while they sleep, the music that a creaking tree makes in the night: these are all things that we should notice, but often fail to.  Yet yoga in a meaningful place, opens our eyes, by stripping away some of the falsities which obstruct our vision.

photo by steve metz                                                                                                                                                                    bunny

     But for Donna, and those precious few of her mindset and spirit, the intent is to extend the benefits of practice far beyond the self, the family, and the immediate community: it is to provide a ripple effect of nurturing.  In addition to her studio classes, she regularly offers after-school programs at Winton Montessori and SCPA, and has even taught children as young as nursery-school.  Even after having borne these gifts into the community, she's looking for more ways to connect.  She will also soon be making yet another journey out west to attend a series of workshops on how to offer the benefits of a yoga practice to the underserved.  How like her.  

photo by steve metz                                                                                                donna jay
     As long as there is suffering.  As long as there is a way to serve.  These are the principles which daily guide Donna.  These are the phrases she uttered to me in the quiet solitude of her studio during our time together, with Bunny.  These simple principles are the reason that there is a three-legged dog in a place called 3 Legged Dog.  These are simple, actionable ideas, accessible to everyone.  It begins at the top of the mat, with a deep breath.

3 Legged Dog Yoga Collective
3 is a Magic Number


  1. right on...from one yogi to another!

  2. yeah !!!!!! Donna and Bunny are good friends to have