Doga – Dog Yoga
Are you looking for a way to strengthen the bond with your dog and do something for your health? With Doga you can do both! Doga, or yoga with dog, involves stroking, stretching and lots of massage. In this article, we'll tell you what it's all about and how you can easily get started.
What is "Doga"?
Doga is made up of "dog" and "yoga" - so it means nothing more than yoga with dogs. This neologism was coined by the American Jennifer Brilliant. For her, dogs are the perfect "dogis" (yogi + dog) and she has developed an entire yoga programme around them.
For her, animals and yoga belong together - we couldn't agree more! It's no coincidence that there are certain yoga postures, known as asanas, that are inspired by animals. These include the downward facing dog, the cat, the turtle or the frog.
However, yoga with dogs does not mean that you have to include your dog in every single yoga posture. It is more about letting your four-legged friend be there, watch and sometimes even participate. In addition to exercises that actively involve your dog, the fact that he is close to you is enough. Your relaxation can have a positive effect on your four-legged friend: He becomes calm - and may even feel inspired to imitate your next yoga pose. The downward facing dog pose is, of course, particularly suitable for this.
At the same time, the presence of your dog can also help you to relax better during the exercises. Through these intimate movements, you can also strengthen the bond with your four-legged friend and learn to understand him better. It's a win-win situation!
Why do yoga with dogs at all?
Whether it's a New Year's resolution or a way of life: sport is healthy and creates a good balance against stress from everyday life and working long hours at a desk, for example in a home office.
Did you know that yoga can help combat stress, tension and high blood pressure? Regular yoga exercises can even have a positive effect on digestive complaints and other illnesses. In this case, however, it is advisable to consult your family doctor as well.
Compared to jogging or weight training, yoga has one big advantage: you are not dependent on the weather and don't need to buy anything except a comfortable mat.
You can start at home at any time! The sun salutation, downward facing dog or the cat pose are simple yoga exercises for beginners with which you can easily get started.
Through the flowing movements combined with breathing exercises, you can train your entire body.
But what's the beauty of "Doga"? Surely some four-legged friends like to lie on their dog blankets and watch while their masters and mistresses flex on their yoga mats. However, doga is also a suitable form of exercise for dogs. A round of doga is not just a workout for your dog and a sporting activity for you: through yoga with dogs, you can strengthen your bond with your pet and at the same time do something good for yourself! Your dog's health also benefits from the sport: according to DogaMahny, a British yoga specialist for humans and animals, doga not only helps to strengthen the bond with your dog, but can also make your dog less anxious. In addition, your furry friend is sure to enjoy being pampered during the integrated petting and massage segments.
Can all dogs participate in dog yoga?
Unfortunately, not all dogs can join in with relaxation exercises, so Doga is not suitable for all dogs. Particularly jumpy or nervous dogs, who easily become anxious, will find it difficult to relax during the exercises and concentrate for the duration of the exercise session, especially in the beginning.
Young and playful dogs are also more likely to understand your movements as requests to play, in which case the calm and relaxation for both of you will quickly be lost.
In both cases, it is best to start with short exercise sessions and give your dog positive reassurance with treats and food as soon as he calms down.
If your dog has a calm nature and you want to try "Doga", your dog should know basic commands such as sit, down, and stay. Also, your furry friend should be relaxed at the start of the yoga session. If he is too restless, gentle petting or light massaging can help to calm your four-legged friend.
Another personal tip is to always have a few treats at hand to reward your dog and to associate the exercise sessions with something positive. Here are some suggestions:
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3 exercises for beginners
It is best to start your yoga session with breathing and meditation exercises. For your dog, the first thing to do is lie around and relax.
Then it's up to you as a team. Here are a few exercises that you can try out with your dog as a beginner. Please remember to give your dog space and don't force him to join in. If your dog wants to go, don't hold him.
- Doga Exercise #1:
Sit on your knees and bring your dog close to you. Now start to massage and stroke him extensively - from head to tail. By massaging your dog with the open palms of your hands, you will stimulate his circulation and at the same time relax your upper arms and back muscles. Make sure you inhale and exhale deeply and regularly and don't press too hard.
- Doga Exercise #2:
Get your dog to lie down in front of you with the command “sit". Now kneel behind your dog and bend over him. You should place your hands to the right and left of your dog. Bend forward until you can rest your head on the side of your dog's back so that you are looking to one side. This stretches your back and arm muscles and at the same time strengthens your dog's trust in you. Again, make sure to inhale and exhale deeply and regularly.
- Doga Exercise #3:
Stand up with your body in a straight position. Stretch one leg behind you while keeping your balance on the other. Make sure that your back and your lifted leg form a straight line. Now ask your dog to jump up to you and grab him by the front paws. This way you can strengthen not only your own muscles but also those of your dog. Alternate between legs and make sure that your dog is relaxed. With this exercise, too, regular, deep (Ohm) breathing is essential.
Yoga with dogs for advanced students?
Did you and your four-legged friend enjoy our exercises? Excellent! Then, from now on you can start at full speed and become real doga professionals! But please note: more advanced exercises should only be done with experienced trainers. They can help you and prevent accidents. Many dog schools and trainers now offer yoga with dogs. Find out if there is a dog school near you.
We hope you and your pet have fun trying it out. And with your next downward facing dog pose, maybe you'll think of us. ;)