Dog Yoga, Or "Doga," Is The Cutest Exercise You'll Ever See — And Great For Bonding With Your Pup
I'm still reeling from the news that goat yoga is illegal in New York City, thus rendering it impossible for me to rest in pigeon pose with a fluffy baby Angora goat resting atop my spine. But some inspiring news has mitigated my heartbreak — dog yoga, or "doga," is the newest fitness trend sweeping the world, inviting dog parents and their canines to chill out and connect with their breaths together.
As reported by TIME, "dog yoga" has already found its legs in the U.K., where yogi Mahny Djahanguiri has founded dog yoga practice Dogamahny. According to Dogamahny's website, Djahanguiri thinks pairing humans with dogs has a healing effect on the former, hence why she's championing a combination of the two with yoga classes. "Dogs are connected to nature, and they don't manipulate the way humans do, "she told Time. "They’re healers. They’re natural healers. They know what’s out of balance and what’s not."
This is, in my limited experience, rather true, since whenever I've been particularly sad around an adorable, fluffy dog, they've managed to find a way to cheer me up. And the video accompanying the TIME article, which shows sweet little puppies running around their owners' yoga mats like they haven't a care in the world, other than chasing good smells, certainly made yoga look a little more fun than my class this morning, in which I fell over at least twice while attempting half moon. Then again, I wouldn't want to fall on a dog, so.
Apparently, the dogs have a good time in Djahanguiri's class, too, if just because it functions as an indoor dog run. "He loved it. I mean, he was running around a lot, wasn't he? He was having a great time," Lucian Ivan, a dog yoga class attendee, told TIME. "Great social event, right? For dogs."
And Simon Jacobs, the parent of one particularly sweet looking little white ball of fluff, said dog yoga helped his puppy open up. "Well at first he's quite shy with all the other dogs, he's quite a shy dog," Jacobs said. "But gradually he gets more comfortable." SQUEEEE.
Though I'm not sure the ancient yogi masters intended the practice to include puppies, throwing pets into the mix certainly jazzes up an exercise class. And dog yoga is just one of many ways modern yogis have tried to reshape the discipline, and make it more appealing to contemporary practitioners. There is, for instance, the aforementioned goat yoga, where baby goats walk on yogis' spines to help them stay straight in certain poses. As someone who follows several goat rescues on Instagram, this innovation seems particularly inviting, and in fact it's taking me a lot longer to write this blog post because I keep looking at photos of goat yoga on social media. LOOK AT IT.
For folks who prefer their yoga sans animals, a couple of yogis in Austin, Texas started hosting Harry Potter-themed yoga classes, in which participants got to meditate their way into a Harry Potter book, complete with broomstick rides and cat pose transfiguration spells. Then there's Alien Yoga, in which yogis contort their bodies into strange, extraterrestrial shapes to help with their breathing.
Other unique yoga classes out there include beer yoga, where yogis pair their practice with an assortment of brews, and "Drunk Yoga," where you and your buds can sip wine while squatting in chair pose. I also once went to a yoga class that was themed after the musical, Hamilton; we listened to the soundtrack while going through a series of vinyasa flows, with necessary dance breaks. Yoga is cleansing and strengthening, but sometimes it's nice to jazz up a workout with some Lin-Manuel.