We’ve been aware of yoga’s health benefits for decades now. But did you know your pupper can reap these benefits too from doga, the yoga for dogs?
Gone are the days where your pup sits idly by, head tilted in confusion as he watches you bend and twist in front of your yoga video on TV. Now he can join you!
As we celebrate the International Day of Yoga today, we want to take this opportunity to discuss some of the many benefits of yoga for dogs. We interviewed a few dog yoga studio owners in the area for their take on best doga practices.
What is doga?
Dog yoga is so much more than bringing your pup along to your yoga classes. It allows him to join in on the fun! Doga, when done in the right environment, calms both you and your dog. Doga is a combination of “yoga for dogs” and “yoga with dogs”. Therefore, it allows both pupper and his owner to benefit.
Think about it—many of us go out to run errands, including a yoga class for example, and worry about our dog being at home. When you go to a doga session, there’s no need to feel guilty because he’ll be right there with you the whole time. He may even want to go for a walk afterward!
Common misconceptions about doga
The dog is doing all the work. A common misconception, according to Adele from Rancan Sisters Fitness, is that owners envision themselves sitting back while their dog performs yoga poses, finding it hard to believe that any dog would be able to stay still while ignoring other pups in the room. They say that, while you’ll feel great afterwards, the perfect doga session will make you feel more connected to your dog rather than feeling like you got an excellent workout.
Elyse from Studio 3 Australia notes that their canine participants enjoy the chance to climb on people and play during class. Both humans and dogs get their social exercises in!
Doga is only beneficial for small dogs. Though it may seem like tinier dogs are more nimble, Michelle from Hot Tropical Yoga notes that there are many poses and adjustments available for dogs of all sizes. “The smallest dog we’ve had is a Chihuahua and the largest a Wolfhound.” A Wolfhound doing yoga—imagine that!
The top benefits of doga
Anxiety relief for humans and pups. Elyse puts it perfectly—“Who doesn’t get super excited when they see a dog? … The dogs are more like therapy dogs, making people happy as they come to the class.”
Adele also agrees, adding that dogs help reduce our stress by allowing us to live in the moment. Dogs react very positively to physical touch, especially around the ears, so focusing on these areas during a doga session can make for a happier pup.
A fun alternative to exercise. For Michelle, doga is a “sneaky” way to get in some exercise, for both the owner and their dog. If your dog is the type to scoff at the idea of a walk but loves joining you at social gatherings, doga might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Reduced blood pressure. Did you know our blood pressure drops when we pet a dog? Rancan Sisters lets us know that dog/human interaction has so many benefits for both us and our dogs. They help boost our immune systems by satisfying our natural need for touch, and the same goes for our pups. All of this combined with a relaxing atmosphere makes doga one of the best ways to boost a dog owner’s emotional and physical health. You can feel even better knowing you’re doing the same for your pup.
Thinking about attending a doga session? There are a few things you should know before you start.
Not every doga session is bring-your-own-dog friendly. For instance, Studio 3 conducts yoga sessions with rescue pups of all sizes. This is an excellent way for these dogs to get the exposure and love that they need. Depending on their age, all of the puppies in Studio 3’s sessions are up for adoption. This is ideal for someone who isn’t yet ready to commit to having a dog, but still loves spending time with them!
Just like regular yoga, it’s crucial that you relax. Rancan Sisters assures us that each doga session is different from the last, so you can never know what to expect. They discourage their attendees to aim for a “perfect” session, and instead just try to enjoy the experience.
Exercises will be modified depending on the breed size. Don’t expect to carry a Great Dane like you would a Chihuahua! Every dog can benefit from stretching, but the way their owners interact with them during a doga class depends on the breed’s size. Hot Tropical Yoga says that smaller dogs are more fun for balance-based poses, but it’s easy to interact and stretch with dogs of all sizes.
What if you can’t find a doga class in your area?
Don’t get discouraged—owners can do doga themselves at home! If you’re new to yoga, develop a routine at home and your dog will quickly associate yoga time with quality bonding time, according to Rancan Sisters. And if you’re no stranger to doing yoga at home, your pup has likely already tried to join you!
More information about these doga studios
1. Rancan Sisters Fitness, Sydney
They are yet to open up a regular schedule of doga classes as they just relocated their studio. But they do run pop up doga events every now and then so make sure you follow them on Instagram and Facebook to check the dates and place. They are also working on a book, DVD, and training program to satisfy the increasingly high doga demand!
3. Studio 3 Australia, Melbourne
They use rescue puppies and dogs for their session, so you cannot bring a dog with you. 100% of the profits from their doga classes (offered at least once a month) go to Second Chance Animal Rescue. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for any announcements and updates.