How Dogs Can Help Your Yoga Routine

Yoga is a great way to decompress, to give both your body and mind much-needed restoration, while also getting in an effective workout. Similarly, simply being around a dog can instill feelings of calmness and joy. So combining the two almost sounds too good to be true, right?

As a dog owner, there are a lot of activities you know you can do with your pet. Taking a walk, going for a hike, or playing fetch, just to name a few. Believe it or not, though, you can actually incorporate your dog into other more complicated activities that you most enjoy, such as yoga.

Introduction To Doga

If you’ve ever attempted to do yoga or another kind of workout at home, you’ve probably had your pup try to join you. They think you are playing and immediately scurry around on your mat. And however cute this may be, it can also be a little irritating. But instead of getting annoyed at your dog for interrupting your workout, why not try to incorporate them instead? That’s the idea behind what many people now refer to as “doga.”

The idea for dog yoga can be traced back about seven years to Swiss yoga teacher Mahny Djahanguiri, who got the idea from watching owners and their dogs meditate together on a California beach. According to Djahanguiri, there are a wide array of benefits to dogs practicing yoga, including decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety and reduced blood pressure.

Playful Postures With Pets

Now there are studios popping up in various cities offering classes specifically for owners and their pets. On top of getting in a great workout, doga has the added benefit of providing owners and pets time to bond. In a world that keeps us increasingly busy and distracted, it’s nice to have that time carved out for one-on-one attention.

Another benefit of doga is the socialization that occurs, which is especially important in puppies and young dogs. Being in a social setting with other humans and dogs around can help your dog become friendlier in social situations.

Of course, no matter how intelligent or active your dog is, there’s no way they will be able to do all of the yoga postures in your practice. But there are a handful of poses that they can and will likely willing do. Some they probably do already. If you think about it, including your dog in your yoga routine makes perfect sense. After all, they must call it a downward dog for a reason.

The Art Of Downward Dog

Most of the benefits of yoga come from stretching-type postures, which generally come naturally to most canines. In addition, to help relieve muscle tension and build strength for dogs recovering from an injury, it can also help prevent future ailments by enhancing flexibility and range of motion. Plus, the movement can also be a gentle, healthy way for senior or injured dogs to exercise without overextending themselves.

When attempting to incorporate your dog into your yoga routine, keep in mind that it should be a fun and enjoyable experience. If your pup is clearly not into it and trying to squirm away, give him a break and try again another time. Because doga classes are only offered in a select number of cities, your best bet may be to watch an instructional video online to get started.

There are many reasons to incorporate your dog into your yoga routine, as doing so will not only help strengthen your bond but improve their health as well. By including your furry friend in your yoga practice, you make it even more fun and enjoyable than it would be doing it by yourself, making you more likely to continue your practice.