Yoga, the ancient practice of mind-body movement, is good for both dogs and dog owners. Dog yoga has been popular for more than two decades. The trend now is to include other pets and animals, like cats, goats, horses, and small mammals. In our hectic world, yoga can help people relax and center – and dogs and other pets bring a special benefit to this practice.
Let’s explore the many ways pet or dog yoga can relax, rejuvenate, and create a stronger bond with your fur friend.
What Is Dog Yoga?
Pet yoga started in the early 2000s with dog owners. Suzi Teitelman, a Jacksonville yoga teacher, created the concept of dog yoga or Doga. Dog yoga uses asanas (or poses) that are dog-friendly and good for both pet and person. These poses include downward dog (of course), crescent lunge, wheelbarrow pose, and forward fold, among other recognizable asanas. Each of the asanas is held in a shorter duration to accommodate your dog’s attention span, and sessions are 30 minutes or less.
Pet yoga uses blocks, mats, chairs, balance balls, bands, and other traditionally used props. Treats help keep your pet’s attention and train them on various poses when they are learning. There are many poses that your pet cannot do with you, but during this time they can enjoy pet-friendly stretches and the favorite, Savasana, which is the resting pose for deep relaxation.
People have tried yoga with chickens, goats, hamsters, cats, and guinea pigs. Even snakes and reptiles have been included in this animal yoga craze.
Dog Yoga Benefits
You may already know some benefits of regular yoga practice, like better relaxation, posture, and circulation. There are other advantages, too, when doing yoga with your pet.
- Better physical health – Practicing yoga with your dog can help them get added exercise and stay at a good weight. Doga is great for a dog who has had orthopedic issues, such as a former ligament tear (ACL rupture) as a way to improve muscle mass and joint health. It’s good for for cardiovascular health as it increases heart rate and circulation.
- Greater bonding – Spending time in asanas and savasana is time spent together. This additional attention to your pet can increase feelings of connection, togetherness, and security. Great for both of you!
- Reduces stress – Our dogs are sensitive to stress and feel stress when we do. By taking time to deepen into a yoga practice, you can help relieve anxiety, worry, and stress. In turn, your pet will sense this calm. Yoga is equally calming to pets as the poses help them relax.
- More social opportunities – Group yoga is an awesome way to incorporate socialization into your pet’s weekly routine. Socialization is important to dogs because they learn confidence and can display their instinctual drive to play and interact. This time is also important for you to get to know other pet and yoga lovers! Win-win for all.
- It’s just so much fun – If you and your dog have been a little bored with the same-old walk or fetch, why not try yoga? With all of its advantages, it is worth a try. There are several YouTube videos you can watch to get the hang of it with your special fur friend.
Union Lake Pet Services wants to know if you try pet or dog yoga? We would love to hear your stories and see pictures! Just post them to our Facebook page. The staff sometimes does yoga with our dogs. For more information about your pet and healthy forms of exercise and socialization, call us.