Do you like yoga, and you also have a dog? Well, you have just fulfilled the two requirements to start a new experience called Dog Yoga.
Dog yoga is a trend that has been around for almost 20 years. Dog yoga consists of bringing your canine friend to your yoga class and do some poses together. Dog yoga is suitable for all levels of fitness and all types of dogs. Dog yoga can create a deep bond between you and your dog.
Dog yoga may not be for everyone. Some people find small dogs are easier to handle and get them into doing poses. But, if you have a labrador, don’t be discouraged. You can also bring them into class and learn together how to do different yoga poses. Dog yoga can be a fun activity to know that you can practice at home and have fun together with your furry four-legged friend.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India 5000 years ago. Now, you can find it in every country in the world.
The word yoga means to joke, to unite, to bring together. Yoga aims to connect you with all aspects of you. What I mean is that yoga tries to get your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts are in balance, so that you can connect with the higher version of you.
Yoga is a journey of self-discovery. You will experience and explore your capabilities and limitations and go beyond the boundaries of your body and mind. When you practice yoga, you go at your own pace. You are the one on the journey, and you decide how fast or slow you go.
There are several aspects of yoga. The most known element is the physical side or asana. But you can also do breathing exercises known as pranayama, meditation, chanting and follow a yogic diet.
When you commit yourself to yoga, yoga becomes a lifestyle. You don’t have to go all the way; it’s a journey; you can choose how much you want yoga to be part of your life. You can embrace one or more aspects of yoga.
Yoga brings awareness to your body and mind. You will learn to listen to your body and know what it needs. From the basic survival of food, sleep and rest to more complex needs like love for yourself and others.
What Is Dog Yoga?
Dog yoga is yoga that you can do with your dog. Dog yoga, also known as Doga, is a trend that Suzi Teitelman started in Jacksonville in 2001. Anyone can do dog yoga, regardless of their level of fitness.
Dog yoga involves easy poses that you can do with your dog by your side. Of course, if you are already an advance yogi, you can also do other more complex poses.
Dog yoga teaches you how to do yoga with your dog. The best way to know if dog yoga is for you and your dog is trying it. Dog yoga can be the perfect place for you and your dog to socialise and meet other dog yoga enthusiasts.
Your dog will be happy to be where you are, but you need to be aware that your dog may not feel comfortable in an enclosed environment with strangers and with other dogs.
Keep in mind that your dog may not like the dog yoga experience, and that’s ok. You can try dog yoga a couple of times to check if your dog is ok with it. If it’s not, don’t force it.
Signs that your dog doesn’t like dog yoga is excessive barking, squirming, pulling away, or resisting to leave the house when you are planning to go to the yoga class. Listen and observe your dogs behaviour, if it repeats every time dog yoga class is on, he or she are trying to tell you something.
Any action your dog display in response to dog yoga will give you an indication of whether he or she enjoys it or not. If they don’t enjoy it, you may have to go to a typical yoga class without them.
Dog Yoga Poses
Dog yoga is limited to a handful of yoga poses that you and your dog can do together. Some of these poses are downward facing dog, upward facing dog, cobra, compass pose, supine twist, child’s pose, chaturanga, chair pose, cat-cow pose and savasana. Of course, you can do other more complex poses, but your dog won’t be able to do them. Remember a dog’s body cannot do the same bends as you do.
When you and your dog start dog yoga, you need to create a safe space for your dog to feel secure. The best way is to invite your dog to be close to you on the mat. Starting with a simple tabletop and allow your dog to roll under you or lie down. Another pose dogs like child’s pose, you can keep your dog under you and hug them as you bend forward.
You will need to pat and pet your dog very frequently during class, encourage them to participate and give them words of reward when they do something you wanted them to do.
The master pose for a dog is downward facing dog; they naturally get into this pose when they are stretching or about to jump. During a dog yoga class, you work with your dog and help them try to do some yoga poses. Small dogs are easier to handle and carry them on some poses or put them on your back.
How to Teach Dog Yoga to Your Dog?
The first rule about teaching your dog how to do dog yoga is not to force him/her, scared it or punish it for not doing what you want them to do. You can introduce the poses little by little for your dog to get used to them.
Your dog will set the pace; you need to be patient and persistent. Your dog will enjoy dog yoga if you both are having a good time.
By maintaining your breathing calm and your movements gentle, your dog will remain calm. Here is how to get your dog doing some of the easy poses. You can try at home or go to a class to get more support and learn the right way to teach your dog.
You will realise that you may already be doing some of these poses with your dog. All you need to do is to set up a routine and a flow to make it a class.
- Start with the easiest pose of all for your dog: Chaturanga. Your dog has to lay on its belly while you soothe its back. This action will relax it and calm it to start the yoga class.
- Try the chair pose with your four-legged buddy. It consists of your dog sitting on its back paws while you support it by its torso. Its feet will be in the air. Then, please take a few deep breaths and bring his paws down slowly.
- Connect with your dog and bring both breathing into rhythm with a pose called heart to hound mudra. You seat with your dog on your right side, put your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your dog’s heart. Close your eyes and breath deeply and slowly. This pose is meant to connect your energies.
- Child’s pose is another easy pose to try. Get your dog lay down on his belly. Seat behind it and lay down on him as in a hug. This pose will make you feel loved and cared.
- Lastly, to end a session, do Savasana. Get your dog lay on his back with paws up. Stroke its belly gently and breath slowly.
Dog Yoga Benefits
Dog yoga is not the type of yoga to get you fit, but the yoga that can help you strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Dog yoga creates harmony between your energy and your dogs’ energy.
The close interaction with your dog during yoga can help you check on its health as well. Any lumps, skin problem or anything hurting will be noticeable. People that do dog yoga say that it makes their dogs calmer and less hyperactive.
On the other side, dogs instinct knows when you are happy and calm. Your dog will enjoy more time with you when you are in a better state of mind. So, your dog will soon realise that yoga gets you there and would get you to do it whenever it notices you anxious or stressed.
Your dog will learn to socialise with other people and other dogs and remain calm. So, dog yoga can have a very positive impact on your dogs’ behaviour and provide them with a form of indoor exercise.
Last but not least, you and your dog will have a good time together.
Dog yoga is a trend that can help you to manage your dogs’ behaviour. You and your dog will benefit from sharing quality time and improve your relationship of trust. You and your dog will be supporting each other physically and emotionally throughout the class.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I teach my dog to do yoga?
The best thing to do is to go to a dog yoga class. A dog yoga teacher has the experience of dealing with all types of dogs and knows how best direct you into the poses. Alternatively, you can watch some videos to give you an idea of what is dog yoga-like.
Why does my dog do yoga?
Dogs naturally do stretches and poses that resemble yoga poses, but your dog isn’t doing yoga by itself unless you taught it.
Why do dogs do downward dog?
Dogs usually do downward dog to stretch or when they are playing around and ready to jump to gain more impulse.
Why do dogs love Yoga mats?
Dogs like yoga mats because they are cushioning and insulating. Yoga mats are a lot nicer than laying on the bare floor.
Is Doga a type of yoga?
Doga means dog yoga or yoga that you practice with your dog. It’s not a type of yoga, but a variation of yoga that you can practice with your dog.