Tonight, while doing a quick yoga session in my living room, I discovered I had an eager fellow yogi. My dog had found himself on my mat, chewing on his ball, and wagging his tail. It got me thinking about trying to get him a little more involved in my yoga practice. I think it would take a lot of work and coaxing to try and get him more involved than just taking up space on my mat, but dog yoga or “doga” is a pretty popular activity amongst yogis. It offers some pretty exciting benefits. In fact, doing yoga involving any animal can provide not only some fun but unique benefits as well.
Yoga will always improve your posture, help you to sleep better, and build strength. When your dog does yoga, it will help increase their circulation and also bond with you! Huffington Post has a great infographic describing the two different types of yoga with your dog. One where you help guide your dog through some poses, which is a great bonding experience for the two of you, and one where a class takes place, and the participants bring their dogs to roam around. I think the latter would be the best for my dog, but unfortunately, he might be too disruptive! However, it might also be good for him because supposedly, dog yoga can help to calm hyperactive dogs.
If you’re interested in encouraging your dog to try yoga, the best advice is to avoid forcing your pooch into it. Let their natural curiosity bring them to the mat. If you have a smaller dog, try carrying them during poses like Warrior I. If your dog is larger, you can rest your head on their back during child’s pose, or fold over them when doing camel pose. I stepped over mine while doing a lunge.
Yoga with animals is also a way we can unwind. We are constantly inundated and connected to everyone around us. Animals are simpler and less complicated than the rest of our lives, which may make activities like yoga with goats appealing. Doing yoga out on a farm surrounded by baby goats milling around can make everything else stressing you out sort of fade into the background. Doing yoga with animals reminds us of what yoga is about, which is connecting to nature and those around us.
There are plenty of unique ways to do yoga from yoga on a paddleboard, on a farm with animals, or just your typical yoga class. Yoga with animals as your fellow yogis is a great way to relax the mind and help to unwind from our crazy lives in a setting that’s a little different than normal. It’s hard to imagine being stressed or sad when adorable animals are running around. The important thing is that you are connecting with yourself and working on your practice. If that merely means letting your dog lay on your mat while you do a yoga session, that’s great, or if you want to give one of the classes a try, that’s great too! I just don’t recommend trying to fit your pup into a pair of your favorite Lululemon leggings.