Doga: Yoga With Your JRT

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No one can deny the health benefits of Yoga. From stress relief to increased flexibility, to the improvement of a large number of medical conditions — it’s amazing what focussed, regular stretching can do.

Yoga can help you with:

  • arthritis
  • anxiety and depression
  • heart health
  • immunity
  • blood pressure
  • and more

But what about your Jack Russell? Can your dog benefit from Yoga, as well? And can you do it together?

What is Dog Yoga?

Different kinds of Yoga make use of different props. Some use blocks to extend the reach of students who haven’t yet reached maximum flexibility. You might also see elastic bands, blankets; large, inflatable balls, and “Yoga rollers.”

But dogs?

Why not?

There is, after all, goat Yoga.

The theory is that letting the goats wander around during the session, coming in for an occasional cuddle, increases the playfulness and peacefulness of the Yoga session.

There’s cat Yoga, too.

Cats provide a quiet, serene, non-judgmental living presence that a lot of people find comforting.

Yes, Yoga with different animals in the studio is a thing, and gaining popularity. If you think about it, it’s easy to understand why.

But Doga is another animal completely.

How is Doga Different?

The difference between Doga and Yoga with other animals is that, with Doga, your dog does the poses with you. And not just downward dog!

Check out the Doga practitioners below, who use Dogs to help their dogs with various health issues, from stiff hips to stress-related behavioral issues.

They also use Doga to bond more closely with their dogs.

As you can see, some dogs take their practice more seriously than others!

How Do You Do Doga?

The basis of Doga is interacting with your pet in a way that benefits you both. Practitioners incorporate meditation, stretching, and human Yoga poses in individual ways, depending on their needs and the needs of their dogs.

There are three basic schools of Doga.

The first school uses the dogs as props for the human’s practice. The second concentrates on the dogs’ movements for the dogs’ benefit. In the third school, the dogs learn to do the poses side by side with their owners.

Which school would work best for you? You’ll have to ask your four-footed friend.

Are There Any Safety Concerns?

Just as Yoga isn’t for every human, it’s not for every dog. If your dog suffers from any injuries or specific health issues, it’s important to check with your vet before starting any exercise program.

This is especially true if your dog will be doing any stretching or posing. The last thing you want to do is accidentally make a back problem, joint problems, or any other physical problem worse.

And if your buddy has behavioral issues that might interfere with other students and their dogs, then you might want to book a private session with your instructor.

How Do You Get Started With Doga?

If you’re in Europe, you’re in luck! You can book a session directly with Mahny Jahanguiri, one of the founders of Doga.

If you’re anywhere else, you can buy Jahanguiri’s book or watch her training videos.

Doga isn’t just practiced in Europe, however. There are Doga instructors all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, and more.

If you can’t find a full-on Doga studio in your area, you might be able to find a human Yoga studio with Doga classes. Alternately, you could contact individual instructors who might be willing to work with you and your dog on a one-on-one basis.

Are You Ready to Doga?

Yoga has an amazing raft of health benefits for humans as well as for dogs. But more importantly, it can be a way to have some fun with your pup, and to strengthen your bond.

What do you think? Is dog Yoga for you?

Featured Image CC BY-SA 4.0 by Erhar Yaksaa, via Wikimedia Commons.

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