It’s time we talked about doga, or yoga with dogs. It’s officially a thing. We’ve heard rumblings that it was a thing but we hadn’t yet heard about Austin Doga, for instance, which is an actual place you take your actual dog to do actual doga. We hadn’t heard about Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi, a book about doga, nor about Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog. We also hadn’t heard about the monthly doga class at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, or the classes held on the beach by Suzi Teitelman of Doga Dog.
But all these things were revealed in a nice article about doga by Herb Weisbaum on Today.com, and we now know that doga is a thing that is happening. Doga is here. Doga has arrived. And doga looks amazing.
We like saying “doga,” too.
“People think I’m kind of crazy, but I tell them it’s a great bonding time,” says Melba Sanchez, who has been doing doga with her Miniature Schnauzer, Kasey, for about three years at Austin Doga. “I feel that I’m not only doing something good for myself, but I’m also doing something good for him.”
Sanchez and Kasey are enrolled in the Sunday yoga classes, which are taught by Nicole Vykoukal. “I love teaching this,” she told Today.com. “To see my clients and their pets bond is amazing.”
Instructor Suzi Teitelman of Doga Dog in Florida concurs: “You’re looking at each other, you’re touching each other. It’s very calming for you and your dog.”
Dan Moorefield takes doga classes from Teitelman with his Maltese.
“It’s good for us, why wouldn’t it be good for them?” he says. “You have them stretch their legs and put them in certain positions. Doga provides exercise for parts of Gracie’s body that could never be done otherwise.”
To be honest, many of the dogs really don’t do much yoga. Most of the practitioners in the story say that doga is more about intensely bonding with your dog — lots of petting, snuggling, and making a physical connection — rather than getting your dog do complicated moves alongside you. Still, there are some doga poses, according to Today.com:
- Chaturanaga: Your dog lies on her stomach while you stroke her back.
- Chair: You hold your dog from behind while he’s in the sitting position and you raise his front paws in the air.
- Inner Dog Mudra: You rest your forehead on your dog’s forehead and connect the energy of your minds.
The core of doga, however, is about bonding with your dog. Brenda Bryan, who wrote Barking Buddha, says, “They’re in the moment and all about union because they’re pack animals. And that’s what yoga is all about. It’s all about being in the moment and developing a sense of oneness. Dogs are natural healers and it’s nice to bring them onto our mats and incorporate them into such a healing practice.”
As for whether the dogs like it, well, how could they not?
“Who doesn’t want to get stretched and massaged and paid attention to for an hour?” asks Brenda.
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