Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, yoga has increased in popularity due to the many physical and mental health benefits that can be derived from it. For example, practicing yoga helps reduce stress, lowers anxiety, facilitates more awareness of our five senses, enables greater flexibility, and so much more.
However, yoga is not the only thing that has grown in popularity in recent years. Practicing yoga with your dog is not only possible, but dog yoga, more commonly known as doga, has seen a recent spike in popularity too. With that said, what exactly is doga?
What is Doga?
The practice of doga is an extension of yoga that was created in the early 2000s by a yoga enthusiast named Suzi Teitelman and her dog, Coali. Specifically, doga is a form of yoga that incorporates dog-friendly yoga poses and stretching. It includes synchronous poses, in which you and your dog are working together to create a singular pose. Doga includes asynchronous poses as well, in which you are solely posing and stretching your four-legged friend. Overall, it’s a harmonious activity that is meant to strengthen the bond between humans and their furry companions.
How Can You Practice Doga?
There are many different doga poses you and your furry friend can do to benefit from. However, before engaging in the craft of doga, you must make sure that you have a strong background in yoga. If you are not well versed in yoga, you should register for yoga classes at a local yoga studio near you. For example, 532 Yoga offers exceptional yoga classes for all levels of practitioner, including beginners. Increasing your yoga knowledge is the first step in practicing doga safely.
And, of course, make sure you and your dog both have enough room for the various poses. Bumping into something is the last thing you want to do because it’s disruptful and could lead to injury.
On top of having a spacious environment, it’s also essential to begin with basic doga poses. One basic pose is the savasana pose, in which you first place your four-legged friend on their back. After your furry friend is in the appropriate position, breathe slowly and stroke their stomach to allow them to be at ease. Another basic doga pose is the chair pose. This consists of you telling your dog to sit, then taking a hold of their front paws so they can get into a squatting position. Once your dog is squatting, slowly take deep breaths, while holding their front paws up. Make sure to constantly support your dog’s posture throughout this pose. There are more doga poses at different difficulties that can be found online, than just the ones mentioned here.
Are There Benefits to Engaging in Doga?
Similar to yoga, doga has many benefits for you and your furry friend. It allows you and your dog to become closer and more connected to each other. This is because you and your dog can bond in a meaningful activity by focusing and posing together. You are essentially making your bodies become one.
Posing with your dog will build a new sense of physical connection and trust. Consistently practicing doga can build stronger muscles and increase flexibility for both parties involved because you and your dog are challenging your body with complex poses and stretches. Of course, one last benefit is relaxation because doga is a calming experience that uses peaceful meditation and reflection throughout the process.
Is Doga Dangerous for Dogs?
Doga is not unreasonably dangerous for dogs, but as with any physical activity, injuries do occasionally occur. The most common injury for dogs that is present throughout doga is the overstretching or the pulling of muscles. Though doga is beneficial for dogs both young and old, older dogs are more prone to these kinds of injuries than younger dogs. To prevent this from happening, it’s crucial to start off every doga session with basic warm-up poses.
Even with practice and proper technique, injuries can happen. Plan ahead and see how dog insurance works for the health and safety of your pup and to keep them protected. Pet insurance will allow you to avoid some financial hardships if your furry friend does incur certain injuries that require a vet or hospital visit. Beyond getting pet insurance, it could also be beneficial to have a dog first aid kit on hand. Keep this near you when you engage in doga. And, of course, proper stretching and not overdoing it is the best way to stay safe!
Yoga is perfect to practice alone, with your family, and yes - with your furry friends too. It can’t be stressed enough that before diving head first into yoga with your furry friend, you want to make sure you are knowledgeable about yoga yourself. Luckily, 532 Yoga’s website has everything you need to learn more about the beautiful art of yoga! Take some time to check out all we have to offer.