7 Dog-Friendly Yoga Routines To Try With Your Pup
From beer yoga to goat yoga and everything in between, there are a lot of gimmicks designed to get you on the mat. But adopting a dog-friendly yoga routine, also known as doga, isn't one of them. Doga is all about strengthening the bond between you and your dog. And since most dogs are natural yogis (dogis) — it's not called downward dog for nothing, after all — inviting your pup to join your yoga practice is easier than you think. In fact, there are even doga classes so you and Fido can practice among other pups and people.
If you practice yoga at home, it's likely your dog is curious as to what all of your posing is about. Your pup probably even gets in the way by lying on your mat. This is a perfect time to invite Fido to join your practice. Obviously, your dog is not going to be interested, or physically able, to perform all of your yoga poses. However, Fido can share in stretching and meditating with you because animals are attracted to the energy of these kinds of practices. Whenever I meditate, my dogs and cats lie next to me and fall into what seems like a trance.
"Like yoga, doga balances, harmonizes, purifies, and transcends the body and mind of the practitioner," doga teacher Madhavi Bhatia told Julia Lane for The Bark. "What makes doga unique is the practice and benefits that create a harmony and synchronization of energy flow between the owner and dog." In addition to a formal practice, you can also incorporate yoga into many activities you already do with your dog every day. Ready to get started doing doga with your doggo? Try these dog-friendly yoga routines.
1. Doga Classes
If you want to try a doga class, chances are there's one in your city or town. Just search Yelp to find one near you. But before you and Fido grab your mats and head off to class, make sure you're both ready. Does your pup get along well with other dogs? Has Fido shown an interest in yoga? If the answer is yes, doga classes could be a way to deepen your bond and spend some quality time together. If not, it might be best to keep your downward dogs at home.
2. Incorporate Yoga Into Your Walks
You and Fido are probably already going for several walks a day. If you don't have extra time for a formal yoga practice with your pup, you can incorporate some yoga poses into your walks. On Rover.com, yoga teacher Chelsea Alvarez suggests turning regular activities into a meditative practice with your dog.
"Your buns will thank you for squatting to pick up your dog’s ball instead of just bending," she said. "And what could be more conducive to walking meditation than going out with a dog? Watching a dog engage with the world is a great lesson on how to stay in the moment."
3. Practice Dog-Inspired Poses
There are several yoga poses that Fido gets into on his own. If you want to try yoga with your dog, grab two mats and start going through a series of poses that come naturally to your dog. The Chopra Center suggests downward dog, upward-facing dog, compass pose, happy baby, supine twist, and supported fetal pose. Don't be surprised if your dog joins you and follows along.
4. Lift Your Small Dog
If you have a small dog, you can easily incorporate your pup into your yoga routine by lifting them during certain poses. Dogster suggests a pose called funny warrior in which you pick up your small dog and lift them over your head before switching to the next pose. This is only a good idea if your dog likes to be picked up. Do not force your dog to participate in your yoga practice if they don't want to.
5. Child's Pose With Your Pup
A great way to get your dog to chill out is to invite them to participate in some of the more relaxing aspects of your yoga routine, like child's pose. Dogster recommends kneeling on your mat and creating a space in front of you wide enough for your pup to snuggle up in. Then gently fold your body over your dog.
6. Show Your Dog The Poses
If your dog loves attention, you can help them move through some yoga poses. Teach your dog chair pose by sitting Fido on his hind legs, supporting his back, and raising his front paws from behind. Share a pose with your pup with heart-to-hound mantra. Put one hand on your own heart and one hand on your dog's heart and breath slowly and deeply.
7. Share In Savasana
When you're ready to end your practice, encourage your pup to lie on its back or side next to you and rub its belly to help induce relaxation. Spend a few moments with your eyes closed in gratitude for being able to share this experience with your dog.
Once you begin to incorporate yoga into your daily interactions with your dog, you'll realize how much you both look forward to the dedicated time you spend in meditation together.