Doga—or yoga with your dog—is a lot of things: a stress buster, a way to spend quality time with your dog, a bonding experience, an offbeat way to get exercise, a socialization experiment. But more than anything, it’s a lesson in in the power your mood has over that of your dog.“Seven to 10 dogs will come in sniffing each other and barking, but once we begin, within 10 minutes every dog is sitting or lying, quietly zenned out,” says Amy Tobin, Doga instructor for Bideawee animal shelter in New York City. “And that is every time.”For a class that produces such dramatic results, the practice of dogs is fairly simple. It involves doing basic yoga postures that incorporate your dog, and focusing on the deep breathing that comes with a regular yoga practice. “You might take a seated posture with your dog in your lap, and while you breathe deeply, the dog takes your cue and starts relaxing.”
Poses vary depending on your dog’s size. Tobin, for instance, has Yorkie, Lucy, who can be lifted up during a standing pose, such as triangle pose. But if you brought a large dog to class, you might do a standing pose and lean lightly on your dog for support.
Doga is not a sweaty, aggressive workout, or anything like the power yoga class you might take at the gym, Tobin says. “It will give you the blissful uninterrupted time to focus on you and your dog.”
And what you learn most often is that dogs are the best yoga teachers of all. “Dogs live in the present; They don’t judge. They live life to the fullest. For them, yoga is all natural.”