Downward Dog!

Paloma Chavez

yogadog.jpgI suppose since the pose is named “downward facing dog” that our loyal canines are allowed to enjoy some of the same benefits as their human companions.

Dogs are taking to the mat, while their humans are practicing a slightly modified yoga practice. From Los Angeles to New York, and into the UK, doggie yoga classes are becoming a popular exercise alternative for both yoga students and their dogs.

In Seattle, yoga instructor Brenda Bryan who teaches a class at the Seattle Humane Society describes it as “partner yoga” “Don’t be to ambitious,” she said, “Honor where your dog is and remember that dogs respond to our energy. In her classes the dog’s experiences range from complete participation to being allowed to wander to meet with other “yoga students.”

Typically these classes will incorporate gentle massages, placing the dogs in long stretches, belly rubs or just lightly utilizing them as a “prop.” Which personally has been my experience at home whenever I roll out my mat. Inevitably one of my animal pals will begin to quietly crawl under and around my legs. Wagging their tails and looking up at me excitably, figuring that I must be getting ready to have a good floor wrestle with them. Eventually, they settle down, sit at the edge of the mat watching curiously and when I am in final resting poses will quietly lean into me and exhale.

Some people laugh at the idea, others cringe and those who practice it have found it contributed to such outcomes as a more relaxed pup, to the sheer enjoyment of bonding with their animals. Ultimately, its all about the quality of time with your beloved animal. If it brings you a good laugh, thoughtful insights or a restful moment, isn’t that a valuable lesson to be cherished?

[tags] yoga for dogs, doggie yoga, yoga practice, holistic animal practices [/tags]

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