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Benefits of Yoga for Dogs

1.How Doga Works
Photo credit: vegan librarian jess / Flickr

Yoga has long been touted for its ability to calm its loyal followers through meditation, gentle stretching and massage. And since we all share our favorite activities with our best friends, it stands to reason that eventually we’d begin assuming the downward-facing dog position with, well, our dogs. Truth is, “Doga” (Dog Yoga) is rising in popularity all across America and appears to be a trend that’s here to stay. We’ll explore how doga works and the benefits of yoga on the health of your dog.

How Doga Works

In certain poses, doga requires the animals to sit in certain poses while their owners support them. For example, in the resting pose, the dog’s owner lays on the floor with his or her legs stretched across the dog’s torso. In upward paw, on the other hand, the dog sits on his or her hind legs while the owner sits nearby, supporting their best friend.

Often, dogs come into a class with lots of energy, curiosity and sometimes, depending on the animal’s temperament, lots of jumping and barking. But once the class settles in, and the focus and connection begin between the dog and the owner in class, the anxiety and noise tend to subside very quickly.

The Benefits of Yoga on Your Dog’s Health

Yoga teacher Suzi Teitelman has been both a yoga and doga instructor since 2002 both in Florida and New York. She explained in an interview with ‘The Daily Mail’ that: “Just as dogs pick up on anxiety and negativity, they benefit from being in a calm, happy environment with their owners.”

Yoga for dogs connects deeply to a canine’s very natural instinct to stretch. Beyond that, yoga tends to reduce stress levels in humans and in dogs, resulting in an almost unparalleled calm.

There’s a very deep and authentic bond that forms between humans and their dogs, which has been compared to the emotional bond a toddler has with a loving parent. But when dogs and owners participate in yoga together, the exercise creates a unique bonding experience resulting from the relaxation and intense focus between the two species.

Indian-born doga instructor Madhavi Bhati says, “Like yoga, doga balances, harmonizes, purifies and transcends the body and mind of the practitioner. What makes doga unique is the practice and benefits that create harmony and synchronization of energy flow between the owner and dog.”

Dogs who remain at home alone, without the presence of other animals or human interaction, seem to greatly benefit from the social interaction doga offers. But experts say that doga, despite all its myriad of undisputable benefits, should not replace daily walks in the park with your dog.

Running, stretching, fresh air and interaction with other canines are all important to overall balance and socialization of dogs, regardless of breed. But perhaps doga adds an additional option for what our dogs need from us most – focused time and loving attention.

In conclusion, yoga has been practiced devoutly by its devotees for over 2500 years as an effective way to restore balance, relieve stress and alleviate depression, as its practitioners become one with all creation, including animals. Dogs seem to receive an almost instantaneous reflection of those benefits while enjoying the greatest gift of all… more of you.

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