Dogi started as a simple sketch after the realization that each time my husband and I yawned and stretched, the golden retriever we were dog sitting for would immediately stretch along with us in a downward dog. Every. single. time.
The sketch promptly found it’s home in an idea drawer, mentally labeled ‘oh wouldn’t it be nice if someday...” and it sat there minding it’s own business for two years. That was 2004.
The idea was persistent. I wanted to create a children’s book about yoga.
I have practiced yoga for 12 years and wanted to share all of the wonderful and profound benefits I have received from it both mentally and physically. I especially wanted to share this resource with children.
As my first book, the artistic gremlins were in full force and there was an element of fear and resistance which seemed to manifest in the form of excuses, busyness, obligations and pretty much anything else that could fill my time to prevent me from taking the plunge and actually finishing it [or starting it for that matter.]
I did however, set an intention to create this book and have since learned how powerful an intention can be.
I enrolled in a children’s book class in 2006 with a great teacher, Diana Klemin, who became a dear friend. The one sketch evolved into a collection of drawings and soon a manuscript. I did hours of research on children’s yoga to figure out the most appropriate and challenging poses. I interviewed countless yoga instructors to figure out how to make it fun.
Each time I felt blocked, Diana would encourage me to keep going. Staying accountable to a room full of people helped me to keep stretching and keep moving forward. Eventually, Diana would not let me me off the hook until I came into class with a mockup of the book. Well, the mockup led to a series of revisions and finally, an almost finished product.
In early 2008, the book was now the closest it has been to being ‘done’ but not yet in the world. [okay, stalled.]
Ironically enough [or maybe not... I’m beginning to think there really aren’t any accidents] a good friend told me that Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, was teaching a creativity seminar focused on “taking positive forward-moving actions” at a Kripalu, a yoga center in nearby Lenox, Massachusetts.
Having studied her books for years, I was thrilled at the idea of meeting her in person and taking the workshop.
The workshop was a tremendous opportunity to realize as artists, we are not alone in our journey and sometimes the hardest part is just showing up. Julia says:
“As artists, we must cultivate faith....we must trust that there is something larger and more benevolent than the apparent odds stacked against us.”
I was so inspired and motivated that I told Julia I would send her a copy of the book when it was done.
The book was published in fall of that same year and since then has made it’s way across the United States, to Denmark, Austria, Italy and Canada.
It can be disconcerting to stretch out of your comfort zone [whether in yoga or in life] but I keep being reminded, again and again, that is exactly where the magic happens.
I’ve received wonderful reviews and emails of appreciation. Here are some of my favorites:
"As the founder of NY's only yoga studio dedicated just to children, I find it really difficult to find a children's yoga book that goes beyond the basic yoga postures. Dogi the Yogi rocks! I love that Dogi practices challenging poses (Candle, Wheel, etc.). Poses range from easy to quite challenging, all through one of the cutest yoga characters I've ever seen. I often use Dogi the Yogi within my classes, as well as with my own child at home. It's refreshing to read a kids yoga book that does not include the ABC's! I LOVE this book!" -Karma Kids Yoga, NYC
"It provided a gateway for conversation about animals, reading and yoga. Ms. Scrivan gifted us with thirty minutes of smiles and asana, what a perfect combo for all the little yogis and their parents!" -Nancy Alder
"If the dog is man's best friend, then Dogi the Yogi, a blissful furry friend created by children's author Maria Notarile Scrivan, is a yogini's perfect inspiration. Dogi, a yellow pup with wide eyes and an impressive headstand, introduces a variety of yoga poses to children, ranging from simple shivasana to the more difficult wheel pose. Kids will delight in his abilities to twist, stretch and bend, not unlike a real dog enjoying exercise for the sheer fun of it." -Childlight Yoga