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Is Doga Right for You and Your Dog?


14329977_10101351135081464_6470201610769183481_nIf you practice yoga at home, chances are you have performed dog yoga without even realizing!  You may have found that your dog is ostensibly drawn to your yoga mat, or can’t resist the urge to lick your face while you pose in Downward Dog.  Did you know there is a yoga style, doga, which can be performed with your pup?

What is Doga?
Dog yoga is designed to be a fun activity for both dog and human.  While the workout is certainly different than would be received during a traditional yoga class, it is a great way to bond with your pet.  During doga, meditation, massage, and stretching are all part of a common routine.  You might help your dog achieve certain stretches, or even use your pet as a prop for poses.

How is Doga Performed?
For new dog yoga practioners, a book, DVD, or online videos  are the best way to start.  There are many ways that this activity can be performed.  A simple method is to stay in contact with your pet while you do common poses, such as Downward Dog or Child’s Pose.  You can gently massage your dog while you stretch, by connecting your breathing with long strokes of your dog’s back or belly.  A second way is to use your dog as a prop to help you deepen a pose. For instance, while performing Boat Pose, you can rest your dog in your lap as an added element.  Finally, you can help your dog become truly Zen by helping him or her achieve certain stretches.  Overall, it is important to find your dog’s individual comfort level.

Which Dogs are Right for Dog Yoga?
The best dogs for doga are typically ones that are companion animals.  For instance, Maltese, Chinese Crested, and Bulldogs are suitable for this exercise.  However, any dog can participate so long as it is will tolerate being handled.  While yoga is best for calm dogs, it is also suitable for animals that are anxious, as doga might help curb anxiety.  The size of your dog will affect which types of poses you can perform, so that should be taken into consideration as well.

What are the Benefits of Doga?
The benefits of dog yoga are vast.  First and foremost, doga helps an animal further bond with its owner.  Next, it can be a deeply relaxing activity, particularly if gentle massage is involved as well.  Doga also helps animals feel as though they have a “job” to do, which can be especially beneficial for most breeds.  Yoga is also a great way to socialize your pet, particularly in regards to being handled.  Most importantly, yoga provides mental and physical stimulation, which is important for keeping boredom at bay.

Where can I do Doga?
Doga can be performed anywhere that is comfortable for you and your dog, including your home, backyard, or the park.  In large cities, doga classes are even offered in the studio setting!

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Anna Weber

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