Dog Yoga: Everything you need to know
Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise that uses movement combined with breathing and meditation to improve health and happiness. But did you know your dog can do yoga too?
What is Dog yoga?
Dog yoga or Doga is where you include your dog in your yoga practice, letting them get as involved as they want to. While most dogs are not going to master tree pose (balancing on one leg is hard after all) you’ll find they get a lot out of the pet massage, stretching and the calming nature of yoga.
Just remember every dog is different and Doga may not be for them. Make sure you pay attention to your dog’s body language, and if they are wriggling or trying to make a run for it it might be best to try again another day. Or, perhaps pilates is more up their street?
What are the benefits of Doga?
It helps you bond with your dog. Yoga is all about relaxation and focus, and when you take part with your dog it encourages you both to focus on each other too. And of course, if you decide to try any assisted poses that involve the two of you working together, your trust for one another is going to grow as well.
It helps relax you both. The meditative nature of yoga combined with deep breathing is what makes it so relaxing, and as we know our dogs pick up on how we’re feeling really easily. Many pet parents with excitable pups find Doga a great way to help calm their dogs, and frequent practice can help them be relaxed in lots of situations.
It’s good for your dog’s health. Doga is a gentle exercise for your dog that should help boost their circulation. You’ll also find it encourages your dog to stretch which can help them with their flexibility and range of motion.
It’s a great way to meet other dogs. Attending a Doga class means there’ll be plenty of other dogs for your pup to get to know, so it can be a great way to get some socialisation. You’ll also get to meet other pet parents too, and maybe even make some new friends to go on walkies with.
How to get started with Doga
The first thing to do is to check out whether a Doga class is running near you. If not you could always call a local yoga studio and see if they might be willing to start one up.
Of course, if that’s not an option, the beauty of yoga is it’s really easy to practice it at home. And for Doga all you need is a yoga mat and your dog. Just remember to go at your dog’s own pace and let them lead, and don’t forget to take notes when they do their downward-facing dog.
Here are a few poses you could try to get started:
Chaturanga – this pose is a transition pose between plank pose and upward facing dog. To modify it for your pup simply have your dog lay on their stomach and pet their back.
Heart to hound mudra – start seated and place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your dog’s heart. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing and the connection between the two of you.
Chair pose – support your dog’s torso and hold their front paws in the air as they sit on their back legs and then breathe deeply.
Puppy paw mudra – ask your dog to lay on their belly with their front paws stretched out. Then kneel behind them with your head on their back and as you breathe turn your head to the side.
Savasana – also known as corpse pose, this is usually taken at the end of a class or practice and is all about letting go. Ask your pup to lay on their back with their belly exposed and stroke their belly. You may like to lie beside them and close your eyes while you do this for the ultimate relaxation.
Whether you’re a practised Yogi or just starting out, Doga can be a fun option for you and your pup to add to your exercise routine. And whatever you get up to remember to use a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor to keep track of all your fun activities.
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