The Sit List: Five things to do while confined to your home

Finally get around to training your pet, with Berkeley Humane; travel virtually to a National Park; escape into the worlds of moon jellies, sharks and African penguins via Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live cams; and more.

Labradoodle under a blossoming tree looking up at camera
Adorable though she is, this dog could do with some training — or rather her owners could. Now that’s available online courtesy of videos by Berkeley Humane. Photo: Tracey Taylor

HEY-HEY PUP It’s not just humans who are social distancing. Pets are sheltering in place with us too, and now is a good opportunity to teach them some new tricks that will keep them safe. After being cooped up inside most of the day, dogs will be excited to see others when out for a walk. Berkeley Humane gives a key training tip for social distancing with your dog: the Hey-Hey. With this trick, you say the magic word, “Hey-Hey,” make your dog turn towards you by maneuvering their leash, and give them a treat after they move away from others to make it stick. Simple yet effective, the Hey-Hey will help both pets and humans stay healthy. Berkeley Humane also has videos on how to teach tricks to cats during this time. Berkeley Humane pet training videos on YouTube.

ENSEMBLE TIME Chamber music can salve anxious minds. The combination of soprano, cello, piano, along with guest instruments like the violin or English horn is a soothing harmony. Ensemble for These Times, a chamber music group based in San Francisco, has launched #concerthallathome, where they upload videos of their past performances twice a day on social media, including on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. They have posted clips from concerts in Hungary and Poland, in addition to those in California. Listen closely and you’ll be swept into another world. Ensemble for These Times / Concert Hall at Home.

VIRTUAL VACATIONS Even though we’re stuck at home with nowhere to go, this is 2020 and technology can provide us with the thrills of adventurous travel for now. National Parks across the country are teaming up with Google to curate 360-degree virtual tours guided by park rangers. You can start at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and hover above the world’s most active volcano, stand inside a lava tube, and teeter on the edge of volcanic cliffs. You can also go on virtual vacations to the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon in Utah, and Dry Tortugas in Florida. Bon voyage! National Parks Google Arts and Culture project.  

LIVE ANIMALS There’s something so calming about watching a bloom of jellyfish float and undulate through cerulean water. While we can’t go scuba diving at the moment, we can definitely look in on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s jellyfish cam streamed live on YouTube. You can have your pick of live cams of the aquarium’s moon jellies, sharks, African penguins and other birds, and the Monterey Bay itself. If you’re looking for more, check out this site that compiles free live digital encounters with all types of wildlife like elephants, eagles, gorillas, condors, bison, hawks, and more. Now’s as good a time as any to learn about the world’s different species. Monterey Bay Aquarium on YouTube.


MEDITATION NATION Everyone could use some peace of mind right now and meditation is helping many stay calm and grounded in these times of uncertainty. Tamarkoz is the practice of Sufi meditation, which focuses on deep breathing, relaxation, guided visualization, mindful movements, energy activation, and heart meditation to achieve self-knowledge. It might be overwhelming at first, but you can start slowly with the M.T.O. Tamarkoz Association’s daily meditations in various languages on Instagram Live. Once you get the hang of it, you can try more sequential practices on their app, which has some free features. Be still, focus gently, and calm your mind: you deserve it. Tamarkoz on Instagram