Yoga’s benefits, both physical and emotional, are well known so if you’re a dog owner you can pass those good vibes on to your pet with a dog yoga session.
Doga is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, releasing your stress and tension and activating your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the opposite of the ‘fight or flight’ reaction and is known as the ‘rest and digest’ response.
Dogamahny in London is a studio run by yogi Mahny Djahanguiri. She’s the author of the Doga book, and runs group classes in six-week blocks as well as introductory ‘Taster and Sniffer’ sessions and private paw-to-paw classes. Lucille Howe went along with her dog Buckley, a 60kg Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
If you have a small dog you can use them as a weight for some poses such as the warrior, or bigger dogs can lie next to you so you can synchronise your breathing and heart rate.
Larger dogs can also replace a foam block for supporting your knees in seated poses like buddha konasana or side stretches such as trikonasana.
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“Chanting ‘om’ leaves Buckley cold and performing bridge pose over the top of her resting lump seems to annoy her, and she moves to find her own matt,” says Lucille.
“Still, teacher Mahny is patient and creative at adapting exercises, and the main thing is we all have fun.”
Annie Appleby is instructor at YogaForce in California, who noticed that a lot of poses in yoga are named after animals: the Eagle, Pigeon and Cat Stretch.
She’s been leading her doga classes for six years, and you can watch a short example on her Youtube channel. The classes are a chance for you to bond with your pet, using the dog’s natural instincts as a pack animal to enjoy group activities;
Annie says that after a session both the humans and dogs leave in a zen-like state.
At Downward Doggies in Australia, instructor Hannah Reed guides you through how to use massage on your dog’s pressure points to improve circulation and calm them.
She’s created poses including “super dog”, “puppy’s pose” and “woofing warrior 2”, improving flexibility and strength for you and giving a stretch and massage for your dog, releasing any tension.
Photos by Mike Tinnion (grey bulldog) and Taylor Bryant (black lab) on Unsplash
Source: stock.tookapic.com (lady and husky)