Yoga Teacher Edward Vilga’s Dog Is His Guru

Yoga teacher, artist and author Edward Vilga says that no one has taught him more about life and spirituality than his chocolate lab. Edward recently wrote us a letter about his beautiful dog Belle to share with you. Thanks Edward!


The most successful individual I know is currently sleeping blissfully at my feet.

She’s also the happiest and the most self-actualized being I’ve ever met.

And, like all truly great teachers, she instructs almost entirely by example.

To be honest with you, although I’ve trained extensively and been teaching yoga for over a decade, no Sanskrit scroll or mountaintop guru has taught me nearly as much about life as Belle, my chocolate lab, does during a single hike. In fact, for a while now, my chocolate lab has been a model for me of “how to be” in the world.

You see, for many years I’ve taught some of the most physically challenging yoga classes in New York City and Los Angeles. Pretty soon though, once you get your foot behind your head, you find yourself asking “So what?… Is any of this making my life any better? Sure, I’m more flexible, but am I really any happier?”

When I started looking around for the next set of answers, I realized that what I really wanted was to have the same incredible attitude towards life that Belle has.

Living joyfully in the present moment, constantly curious, exuding pure friendliness and enthusiasm that affects pretty much everyone she encounters, and most importantly, radiating an ability to let go and love unconditionally…she really is my guru (albeit one I have to walk and feed twice a day).

Because Belle is aligned, grounded and connected, things flow smoothly for her. Simply put: Belle knows the secrets of having an awesome life.

Belle’s taught me so much in fact, wisdom she offers freely with every wag of her tail, that I wrote an entire book about her life lessons, UPWARD DOG. 

More than anyone I’ve studied with or any book I’ve ever read, every day Belle teaches me how to live simply, to care deeply, to love generously, and to enjoy every moment of my life.


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