In our instagram posts in the past we have referred to “doga,” which we consider to be doing yoga with your dog. Many places around the United States offer classes for owner and pet so your furry friend can join in on the fun.
When my dog sees my yoga mat come out, he recognizes that it is at least a bit of time where he can relax next to me….so extended shavasana perhaps?
We take Doga very lightly, however, it can be a much more spirtual pursuit between you and your furry friend if you wish.
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Through acts of meditation, gentle massage, and stretching, doga practitioners seek to achieve a greater harmony with their dogs. Canine acupuncture and chanting are also known to take place within the occasional doga routine.
In Doga, the submissive dogs and their human masters work as one unit – the masters help their dogs facilitate different poses and, in some cases, the pets are used as props or instruments while the masters perfect their poses. This is seen to be a Zen way of practicing non-traditional yoga and training, while exploring power play dynamics.
Doga has received some criticism from the yoga community. Doga classes have been labeled inappropriate for trivializing the sacred practice by turning it into a “fad”, for their lax policies on teacher certification, and for the dogs’ interference in participants’ concentration and relaxation when they are not properly trained to cooperate.
The UK charity Dogs Trust have also warned that unsupervised Doga may impact the welfare of the dogs, stating: “It is important to remember that dogs can’t tell us when they have had enough. Doga, and any variation of it, should always be carried out under the watchful eye of trained professionals”.
Doga enthusiasts have argued that the practice emphasizes yoga’s focus on union between beings, helps establish a pack mentality, strengthens the bond between owner and pet, and can provide additional weight resistance thereby intensifying one’s yoga ritual. Doga can purportedly also provide a great source of entertainment for dog-friendly class members.”