Yoga is Going to the Dogs

Everyone has heard of yoga, but “doga?”  The newest craze sweeping dog-loving, yoga-loving individuals is “doga.”  The term was coined by Jennifer Brilliant and William Berloni in their book Doga: Yoga for Dogs. For an interesting tutorial on doga, visit ChronicleBooks .  You will meet several “dogis” or yoga dog gurus, and see several doga positions illustrated.  Doga is becoming more widespread around the globe, but it is still a controversial subject.

Dogs — Natural Yogis
According to Brilliant and Berloni, dogs have been practicing yoga for over one thousand years, even without knowing it. Many “human” yoga positions are inspired by natural postures of dogs such as the “downward facing dog” and the “upward facing dog.”  Dogs live their daily lives in a state of calm and wonderment, experiencing joy about the world around them.  They remind us to play.  Doga contends that humans have much to learn from dogs in the way of fine-tuning their yoga techniques.  Brilliant and Berloni are certified yoga instructors and dog lovers.  Noticing a natural connection between the behavior of their dogs and their practice of yoga, they put two and two together and produced their book to instruct humans and their “dogis” in the art of doga.

Is Dog Yoga Good for your Pet?
The verdict is still out on this question.  Dog yoga is a combination of humans doing yoga poses, dogs doing yoga poses, and humans and dogs practicing poses together.  Supporters of dog yoga classes say that the dogs do receive many benefits from taking part in a dog-centered yoga class.  Dogs get to bond and spend relaxing one-on-one time with their owners.  They get to stretch and be massaged.  When ABC News visited OM yoga in New York City in April of 2008, several (human) participants from the videotaped class relayed that their dogs were calmer after the yoga classes.

Not everyone buys that yoga is good for your dog.  Several veterinarians have publicly discussed their feelings that forcing dogs into yoga moves is no more beneficial than playing fetch or going for a long walk. It remains up to dog owners to discover whether yoga is good for their pets.

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