When we first heard about Doga, the term for dog yoga, we were skeptical, to say the least. Sure, yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness and stretch your body, but how can you incorporate your dog into this? Your dog probably isn’t going to be crawling into leg twisting positions. What we discovered is that incorporating your dog into human yoga poses can have a calming effect on your dog, as you breathe and take time to reflect having them close by. It has the added benefit of being a great way to spend some extra time with your furry friend.
According to author and yoga instructor Mahny Djahanguiri, “Doga is the sacred union between dog and owner.” One of the pillars of yoga is practicing your breathing. It is important to be aware of your breath and to take time to relax your mind. This is something that dogs can do as well. While doing yoga, you can place your hands on your pup and help them relax their breathing. Dogs are very alert to your moods. When you feel anxiety or tension, it is easy for your dog to notice this and take on some of those characteristics. Doing yoga with your dog can also help strengthen your bond.
Doga with small dogs: A great way to incorporate small dogs into your yoga is lifting them during poses. As you reach up to the sky during your ‘Warrior I’ pose, take the opportunity to lift your dogs (while humming tunes from the Lion King, of course).
Doga with large dogs: There are different techniques that you can practice with a larger dog. Many of these include stretching yourself, as well as stretching your dog. If you can get your dog to lay with you on the floor as you stretch, methodically stretch them as well. Pay attention to their stressors and make sure to take it slow with them at first.
There are a number of other poses that you can practice with your dog depending on their size and temperament. Try them out and see what works best for you. Maybe you’ll end up becoming pros like this duo! In addition to practicing Doga in your own home, there are classes all over the country that people and their pets partake in. Last August, there was a Dog Yoga Party in Brooklyn. Ollie dog food and Y7 Yoga Studio partnered to have an outdoor yoga class where people could learn doga. We will be checking our calendars to see if this event returns this year.
Have you ever practiced Doga? What did you think? Let us know if there are Doga classes that we should keep on our radar.