No, it’s not a spoof! Yoga for dogs (or Doga) is a real practice. Inspired by Mommie-and-Me yoga classes, instructor, and dog lover, Suzi Teitelman began teaching a Ruff Yoga class at Crunch gym in New York in 2001. After an initial flurry of press and downward facing dog puns, Doga has kept a pretty low profile in the U.S. Thanks to London-based yoga teacher Mahny Djahanguiri, Doga is experiencing a resurgence of popularity across the pond.
What is Yoga for Dogs?
Doga is not about forcing your dog into poses; the goal is bonding and enjoying an activity together. You can incorporate your furry friend into your yoga practice using his weight to enhance your poses, move him into gentle stretches, or just let him lounge on the mat next to you. As Djahanguiri recently told CBS News, “Doga is human yoga class with your dog, not doggie yoga. The people are getting their human yoga while the dog feeds off their calm. The dog benefit is relaxation—I always say doggie Nirvana.” It’s difficult for most dog owners to picture their rambunctious pooch sitting still and focusing on their breath for an hour. While it usually takes a few minutes for everyone’s doggie partner to settle in to the practice, most Doga devotees report that by the end of class, everyone has found inner peace.
Why Yoga for Dogs?
With our busy lives and hectic schedules, it’s tough to find room for me-time and doggie-time. Doga is a fantastic opportunity to have a little of both. And, like people, sometimes anxious pups need to be taught how to relax. An hour of quality time, socialization, and massage will do wonders for improving your dogs overall health and wellbeing.
Where to Get in on the Doga Action
- If you happen to be in London, you can sign up for Mahny Djahanguiri’s next class.
- Suzi Teitelman is based in Jacksonville Beach, FL but she offers plenty of free videos on DogaDog.com.
- Check your local yoga centers or ASPCA for a class near you.
- Animal Planet has some fantastic, fun online Doga vids.
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