Pet crazy folks take their dogs to doggie day care, pet psychiatrists, doggie spas and night clubs, so why not yoga for dogs? That's right! Doga is the new health rage. It's the perfect way for dogs and their owners to work on their flexibility and their bond.
Some say the trend started at Crunch gym in New York where exercisers workout with their dogs. "We do the traditional poses. The dogs just get incorporated," says the instructor, Crunch's yoga director Suzi Teitelman. "The whole process is a bonding time."
Collette Barry who teaches yoga for dogs at Barry's Health and Wellness Center in Cleveland, Ohio notes that the dogs don't really do yoga. After all, everyone knows that dogs have their own agenda. The bottom line is that, "the dogs don't really need yoga," Barry tells her human students. "They live and breathe it every day. People are the ones who need to develop the long-lost art of feeling connected with our Earth and the beauty it embodies inwardly ad outwardly."
In Barry's class dogs have a meet and greet with their canine classmates and then their human partners give them a little massage under the instruction of Barry. The messaging is meant to help the general mental and physical well-being of the four-legged participants. It also is great for bonding. After the dogs have been rubbed down, the students work on their yoga poses, which Barry keeps close to the ground and near to the dogs. The dogs appear to really like it.
It seems that maybe dogs have a natural inclination for yoga. In fact Hritik a German Shepard in India learned yoga just by watching his owner Nanda Dulal do his yoga postures. The dog started doing yoga postures at a year old and just continued to get better. Dulal says, "When I found the Hritik wants to do yoga I started training him. Now both of us do yoga together every morning." Maybe your dog could learn from watching too! Or maybe you could learn a little something from Rover.
If you can't find any doga classes near you, check out Doga: Yoga For Dogs by Jennifer Brilliant, William Berloni which is available on Amazon.com. The book details the natural yoga that your dog can help teach you. The authors feel that dogs may have been the originator of yoga and perhaps your pooch has a lot to show you about living a happy balanced life. The authors state that, "Simply being with a dogi [a dog who is a yoga master] can be enlightening. A dogi's commitment to living in the moment helps us to be more aware of the mystery and magic of life present in our everyday tasks. Taking loving care of a dogi companion is a spiritual practice in itself."
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a yoga mat and a mutt and work on your sense of well-being.