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For humans, yoga is an exercise that offers both physical and mental health benefits. But what better way to enjoy yoga than with your dog?
These days, a re-emerging trend among dog parents and dog lovers alike is dog yoga, also known as Doga. It is a way for health-conscious hoomans to combine exercise with pet bonding.
Whether you want to start doing yoga with your dog or is just curious about the ways of dog yoga, then you’ve come to the right place.
Continue reading to get to know more about this two-in-one activity here!
What Is Dog Yoga Or Doga?
Dog yoga has two types – one where you and your dog participate in a yoga class doing dog-friendly poses (or asanas) and another where you simply do yoga with your dog by your side.
During the activity, your dog either gets to stretch or socialize with other furry friends and soak up the calming atmosphere of a yoga class.
Dog yoga or doga is a trend created by Jacksonville yoga teacher Suzi Teitelman in 2001. These days, the activity is becoming increasingly popular again among dog owners.
Benefits Of Dog Yoga
You may already be familiar with the many benefits of yoga for people. But did you know Doga also offers a lot of benefits, both for you and your furry friend?
Here are some benefits that might just convince you to try dog yoga:
It Improves Physical Health
For us hoomans, yoga is known to improve one’s physical health. Among other things, it increases our flexibility and muscle strength that helps protect us from injury.
Doga provides the same benefit for dogs. It’s an exercise that improves muscle mass and joints and helps increase heart rate and circulation.
Obese dogs and dogs that suffered from orthopedic injuries can hugely benefit from doing Doga.
It Strengthens Your Bond With Your Dog
Doga is proof that your dog is the perfect partner to help you stick to your exercise goals. Furthermore, it’s a relaxing way to spend time together and forges a stronger bond between you and your pup.
It Relaxes And Reduces Stress
Since yoga is all about focus and relaxation, the peaceful nature of the activity can also help calm down your dog.
Furthermore, if you are stressed, your dog can feel this too. So, if you and your dog do yoga, you can relieve the stress, anxiety and worry that the both of you are feeling.
It’s A Great Way To Socialize
Group Doga is a great way to interact with fellow fur parents and their furry friends! You get to do yoga with like-minded people and you get to socialize your dog.
Remember, socialization is important for dogs. It helps them become more confident and teaches them how to react to the world around them without unnecessarily becoming anxious or aggressive.
How To Safely Do Yoga With Your Dog
It’s never too late to start doing Doga. And if you’ve decided to have a go at it, then these safety tips will help you start your journey:
- ALWAYS consult a vet. This is very important. Dog yoga involves many different poses and stretches for your dog. So to ensure that they are healthy enough for yoga, check with your dog’s veterinarian first. We want our dogs to enjoy the activity with us and avoid any injury.
- Once your dog is checked by the vet, determine if you want to do Group Doga or if you want to do it at home.
- If you prefer to be in a class, check local yoga studios that offer Doga classes. And if they do, make sure to find out their limitations and/or rules regarding dogs.
- Before and during doing Doga, make sure your dog looks and feels comfortable. If you’re in a class, let your furry friend sniff and roam the room and get acquainted with other people and dogs.
- Always be gentle and careful when moving your dog into yoga poses. Be sure to only attempt easy and beginner-friendly poses to avoid injury.
- Always have treats with you. Whether you’re doing a Doga class with other fur parents or doing it at home, it’s best to reward your pup while learning yoga poses.
- Be patient and let your dog take the lead. Yoga sessions with your dog may not always go as planned, especially as beginners. So it’s best to take your time, be patient and go at your furry friend’s pace.
5 Doga Poses For Beginners
If you’re familiar with yoga poses, you’ll notice that there are poses that look similar with the way dogs stretch. So, to get started with Doga, here are five beginner poses you can try with your pup:
1. Downward Dog
This is one of yoga’s most well-known poses. It is where you stretch your whole body on all fours, similar to the way a dog stretches, hence the name.
To do this with your dog, let them lay down or stand up on a yoga mat and do the downward dog pose over them.
Chaturanga, also known as Low Plank, is a transition pose between a plank and upward facing dog. To modify this pose for dog yoga, just lay your dog on their tummy and pet their back in long, slow strokes.
3. Heart-to-hound Mudra
The heart-to-hound Mudra is a great Doga pose to strengthen your bond with your dog. All you need to do is start seated with your dog (also seated) in front of you.
Place your left hand on your heart and the other on your dog’s heart. Focus on breathing and enjoy the serenity and growing connection between you and your pup.
Stylish Paws has an excellent example of this dog yoga pose on her blog that you can check out here!
4. Chair Pose
For this dog yoga pose, all you have to do is let your dog sit on their hind legs. Support their torso, if you must, and then let them breathe deeply.
Savasana is often done for relaxation at the end of a yoga session. To do this with your furry friend, ask them to lay on their back and then stroke their exposes belly with long, slow strokes.
You can also lie beside your dog and close your eyes and relax.
As beginner yogis, you and your dog might not get Doga right the first time, which is completely normal! After all, dog yoga isn’t just to improve one’s health, but also to develop a greater bond between you and your dog.
Furthermore, always remember to go at your dog’s pace and make sure they are comfortable. Let them lead and don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do.
With dog yoga, time spent with your furry friend is always time well spent. You’ll never know, with enough practice, Doga might just become you and your dog’s favorite bonding time AND exercise.