Some might argue that yoga isn’t really a true exercise routine, yet still this workout regime has existed for over 5,000 years and some researchers have placed this ancient practice as far back as 10,000 years or more.
Yoga is still going strong and recently this physical phenomenon has embraced canines into joining their humans in this popular fitness program along with one of its favorite poses, the downward dog.
It’s being labelled as “Doga,” or the obvious combination of dog and yoga, is a newer way for pet lovers to experience the wonders of yoga with their four-legged friends. This revamped form of exercise, stamina, concentration, meditation and posing is taking the world by storm. And what’s not to love, bonding with your beloved canine while you both experience the benefits of stretching, strengthening your core, balance and achieving less stress.
Beginning the practice of yoga isn’t as difficult as one might think, especially where your four-legged best friend is concerned.
There are actually a few different ways you can exercise and stretch with your pet:
- You can practice your regular yoga routine with your friend while they watch and interact
- They can join in with some simple poses and massage methods from you
- For more advanced canines, they can learn some simple techniques and practice with you
Poses for beginners include the downward dog, with the buttocks raised in the air, hands and feet on the floor (as shown above). Even some yoga novices may recognize this pose and this position resembles a canine stretching their back, hence the name of downward dog. Other positions that are simple for newcomers include the Cobra pose, which is performed mostly lying down.
In the prone position, lying face down on the floor, place your hands (palms down) alongside your your hips. Using your arms and the core strength of your stomach, gently lift your chest and upper abdomen off the floor slowly. While remaining in this fixed position, take a few deep, cleansing breaths and this will help to gently stretch your back, chest and neck.
Other poses and practices invite your canine to join you during these relaxing practices. Although they may be less familiar than some of the more traditional positions, they still give you quality, bonding and relaxation time with your dog. Some say that canines have a strange fascination with yoga mats for a couple of different reasons. Possibly first and foremost, it usually has your scent lingering around since you’ve been using it as an exercise mat. They’re also very cushioned, comfortable and have a breathable surface that dogs enjoy playing or laying upon.
As long as your pet isn’t being destructive with your mat, digging, chewing or urinating on it and you don’t mind them using it part-time, this is another bonding opportunity for you and your pet. If you’ll be practicing yoga with your dog, you might want to get them their very own yoga mat, a place to lay and play while you’re performing your daily yoga routine.
Join Up Or Join In
There are many practitioners of yoga classes that are offering classes that cater to canine involvement so check in your area if you’d like to participate with your pet. Given all of today’s technology, you can always search online for some simple, basic, yoga techniques that involve your furry best friend.
As always, check with your own personal physician and your dog’s veterinarian before changing your exercise routines. But they’ll likely agree that some low-impact, relaxing yoga techniques could be just what the doctor ordered for some relaxing, stress-reducing quiet time with your pet.
Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours supporting her local shelters. With writing, she has spent most of her research on animals with regards to food, health and training.