Yoga, apparently, is not just for humans.
A new term coined “Doga,” pronounced “doh-gah” or Doggie Yoga, has been sweeping across America. The practice is simply applying the poses of human yoga to our four-legged friends.
Yoga techniques date back to more than 5,000 years ago. It is commonly believed that inspiration for yoga poses began with humans imitating animals; hence, the many poses named after various animals like scorpion, cobra and crocodile. The term yoga means, “to join” and is sensible when applied to the exercise of Doga, as it is a harmonious experience achieving clear minds and strong bodies for both human and dog.
Photos dating back 100 years ago of dogs doing yoga suggest the new fad of Doga is not really new at all. The practice is, and always has been, a positive health choice for yogis and dog lovers alike. Doggie yoga is meant to increase longevity, health and flexibility for dogs of all ages. So now it is time to share our mats and practice with the actual inventors of downward facing dog.
Benefits of Doggie Yoga
Incorporating our dogs in yoga sessions gives the opportunity for them to feel the peace and relaxation we feel after a yoga class. Doga often strengthens the bond between owner and dog and is also a good excuse to practice patience and kindness together. Many yogis decide to start Doga sessions with young puppies because they are easier to train, although dogs of all ages can practice. Doga is actually very beneficial for older dogs with stiff joints and muscles. The owner just needs to be aware of any injuries or weak joints that may inflict pain. If your dog is new to the exercise, take it slow and begin with simple, comfortable poses. Here is an example of a basic doga pose…
Downward Facing Dog
Now remember not to push your dog into a pose that may be uncomfortable.
- First, begin with your pup lying down on the mat.
- Then, step over the dog so your legs are to each side and place your hand near the top of the shoulder blades.
- Next, pull up its hips while keeping the upper body close to the mat and stretching the arms forward.
- Gently pull the hips higher to optimize its effect.
This pose strengthens arms and legs, while stretching shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and paws. Internally it improves digestion and energizes the body.
Get Down with the Doga
Doga often helps calm and mold a more balanced personality since the dog is constantly being touched. This makes them easier to handle during vet visits or grooming, or when you trim their nails. Dogs that are not accustomed to being touched by people can often have anxiety problems, putting others at risk of dog bites.
Additionally, doggie yoga can help get rid of excess energy and release endorphins, which can assist in silencing yapping pups. As mentioned earlier, older dogs or injured dogs can gain a great deal from stretching stiff joints in doggie yoga. The stretches lead to blood flow in areas of the body that are lacking oxygen. The massages incorporated in Doga ease stiffness and can provide quicker healing for old and injured dogs. Doga can be a great exercise to slow down the aging of our dog’s body. Doggie yoga can also help overweight dogs reduce pain, especially, to those breeds with brute structures such as a bulldog.
Yoga with our dogs is a fun way to keep them healthy and flexible and can be done in small spaces, which is great for those city pups that lack outdoor settings. It is quality time well spent, so this winter get your dog some exercise and check out the closest yoga studio that offers doga!