August 16, 2010 by Kelley  
Filed under Dog Health

I love yoga. However, I always feel just a little guilty when I leave my dogs behind. That is why when I heard of Doga I though it was a great idea. Doga is becoming a popular practice for many dogs and dog owners. What better way to practice yoga than with your dog?

From practiced zen-masters, to novice yogis, dog owners and dogs alike are flocking to yoga studios in a joint-effort to find balance of body and mind.

Doga moves mimic those of the human practice (with the exception of limb flexibility). With a series of stretches, lifts, and massaging, owners work with their dog in a symbiotic exercise.

I love to stay healthy and being able to do a healthy, fun dog-friendly activity is perfect. Most classes consist of five to ten participants. During the class instructors tell students to feel free to see what works for them and their dogs.

Doga doesn’t replace walking your dog and getting exercise. Dogs need to burn off their energy. It does, however, allow for an owner and dog to bond and build trust. I recommend taking your dog out for a nice long walk/run and then heading to the yoga studio for some relaxation after your walk/run. Your dog will be ready to rest, which is a perfect mindset for doing Doga.

Bonding is not the only benefit of Doga. You’ll be petting your dog and manually shifting his body, which allows the you to conduct a full body scan and check for any abnormalities, which may have gone unnoticed. The continuous handling often helps the dog when going to the vets or groomers. And if you’re like me, you’ll be bringing your dog with you, so you won’t feel guilty about leaving him/her behind.

There are skeptics out there who talk about the unnaturalness of dogs practicing the serious tradition of yoga. However, some of the moves in yoga are already naturally performed by dogs in their everyday stretching and movement. For example, happy baby pose, dogs often lie flat on their backs with legs free in the air. And just like the appropriately titled downward facing dog pose, dogs tend to stretch in a half seated position, or bow to engage in “play time” with other dogs.

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