After you come home from a long day, we’re sure your pup’s tail is wagging to go outside with her favorite human. Luckily for your pooch, your one-on-one quality time doesn’t have to end after you walk around the neighborhood together. You can try yoga with your dog—also known as doga. That’s right, you can incorporate your four-legged companion in your daily stretching routine.
Your pup may not be able to master the infamous headstand, but we wouldn’t be surprised if your yoga dog shows off her downward dog pose on the mat. We’ve spoken with Suzi Teitelman, a Florida-based doga instructor, to explain why canine yoga is beneficial for you and your pooch.
1. Relaxation, Mental Clarity and Peace
If you already do yoga, then you know how it can help bring you to a tranquil state of mind and relieve stress. You and your pet can enjoy these benefits together if you include your pup in pet yoga.
“With your dog, it doubles the calm because you’re sharing this experience together. It’s a very loving, peaceful and joyous experience,” Teitelman says.
Dog yoga is a great way to spend extra bonding time with your pup.
“A lot of people take this time to just be with their pet, which brings them happiness,” Teitelman says.
It’s like the feeling of when you signed those adoption papers and brought your four-legged best friend home for the first time. So, instead of shooing your pet off your mat during your Zen sesh, welcome her with open arms and an open heart.
2. Your Dog’s a Natural
“Dogs are natural dogis and already have that quality to them,” explains Teitelman.”They help quicken the pace for a human to be happy and peaceful.”
So, if you thought for a minute that your pup wouldn’t easily adapt to this new activity, think again! Dogs doing yoga is something that’s within them. In fact, “poses are named after animals because whoever originally created yoga learned these poses from them,” Teitelman says.
Best of all, any pup can do dog yoga since “You can modify every pose depending on the size of the person and dog,” explains Teitelman.
3. You Have the Ability to Help Your Dog
Whether your dog is anxious or is older and struggles with joint issues, practicing dog yoga could help calm her down or relieve the pain.
“If a dog has some kind of issue, it’s definitely important to do therapies that your doctor recommends, however, doga is great as well,” Teitelman says.
You can help your pup by massaging the troubled area or practicing reflexology on her.
“It’s definitely beneficial for the dog, as long as you’re not hurting them,” explains Teitelman.
It’s important to know your limits; for beginners, it may be best to find a doga class that you and your pup could go to before you do it at home.
“One of my dogs had cancer, and I would do yoga with her to keep her comfortable and send her good energy and love. I would send that energy by touch, stretch, massage and working on the chakras. You could do all that kind of special work with a dog,” says Teitelman. The ability a pet parent has to comfort their fur baby is endless since the love dogs and their people share is irreplaceable.
Doga Tips for Starters:
Get in the Zone
Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent and shut off anything else that could interrupt you both. Turn on a relaxing CD, like the Ruff Dawg stress reduction system, that calms you and brings you a state of deep relaxation. Candles and aromatherapy sprays are also great to use before your doga session.
Let Your Dog Come to You
While your dog can become a doga master in no time, we recommend slowly introducing it to your pup to make it a positive experience. “Time and patience will help ease your dog into it. Just like any yoga practice, it’s not something that you’re going to learn in a day,” explains Teitelman. You want your fur baby to remember doga as a relaxing, stress-free time for you both, not something that feels forced.
Start With the Basics
Make this experience comfortable for you by starting with poses that your body can handle. “If you’re someone that is new to yoga, just sitting on the floor in a wide-leg straddle or cross-legged and placing your dog in front of you is an ideal position. Have your chest open with shoulders back and align your spine together. Breath in unison with your pup,” says Teitelman. You can also focus on “massaging your pet’s head, ears and chakra points,” explains Teitelman.
It’s easy to see how doga can be a fun, healthy activity for you and your pooch to do together.
Lindsay Page, Pet Central Editorial Assistant
The moment Lindsay started her career here at Chewy, she hit the ground running in customer service; she knew that this is the company she wanted to grow with from then on. When Lindsay isn’t spending her time writing for Pet Central, she’s most likely binge-watching a Netflix series and cuddling up with her 80-pound fur baby, Dexter.