The practice of yoga is over 5,000 years old, and this mind-body experience continues to become more and more popular every year. Known as a “healing art,” yoga helps people decrease stress in their lives and find inner peace, in addition to physical benefits such as muscular, circulatory, bone, joint and respiratory strengthening.
Dog parents are also actively searching for new ways to build stronger connections with their furry friends, seeking out bonding experiences with long-lasting effects.
What happens when you combine this natural dog owner desire with the ever-popular practice of yoga? You get Doga!
The Concept of Doga
The origins of Doga (dog yoga) have been credited to several different yoga teachers, who seized the opportunity to incorporate beloved pooches into the beneficial practice of yoga. Of course, Doga is not about teaching your pup how to do “downward facing dog” or “warrior pose,” rather, this practice introduces several ways to include your dog in your yoga practice and provide benefits for him or her as well.
Some ways to incorporate your dog into your yoga routine include:
- Lifting smaller dogs during selected poses
- Encouraging larger dogs to sit or lie down next to your mat
- Resting together with your pup during reclined poses
Ultimately, Doga is about training your dog to stay close by you during your practice.
Benefits of Doga
Daily life can be stressful, even for your precious pooch. This can lead to mental health issues for you and behaviour problems for your dog. Doga is a great way to relieve some of that stress, spend some quality time with your dog, and to connect with your pup in a very positive situation.
When you teach your dog some basic yoga poses, or help him or her stretch, you are introducing a great way to increase his or her physical activity. Older dogs, or those with joint issues or arthritis, may gain particular benefit from this activity, as it is very low impact, helps improve blood flow, strengthens muscles, and supports mobility. If your dog has any physical issues or shows discomfort, then it is best to consult your veterinarian prior to starting a new exercise regimen.
Like regular yoga, Doga helps promote calmness and mindfulness in both people and dogs. It is a great activity for dogs that have that extra level of energy. Dogs are experts at picking up on our energy, so the calmness you cultivate during your yoga session will also help to calm your pup.
If you’re interested in more information on Doga, you can find many resources online as well as books on the subject. You can also take a Doga class in a studio, and also practice in the comfort of your own home. Either way, now is a good time to start on the road to the many benefits Doga will bring to you and your dog.