By: Arielle Parris
Here at Gaiam we know the importance of yoga for kiddos. Our bright, playful teeny yogi collection inspires even the littlest ones to come to the mat.
Since I have yet to have a human child, I have started getting my fur baby involved in my practice. So here are a few tricks for yoga for you and your dog.
Step one of doga (dog yoga) is releasing expectations. When I started helping my puppy (who is just now turning six months old) stretch, I was taught again and again to let go. I might have a pup-and-me class planned out, but my pup might only be interested in five minutes before running off to chew on a delightfully smelly sock.
By releasing preconceived notions of what a good practice might look like, you are more able to be in the moment and enjoy exactly what your practice looks like right now. Dogs already know that—so it’s up to us to follow suit.
“Yoga is not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance.”—Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
Doga is a little different than our typical yoga practice. Here are a few poses that I’ve found useful for my dog and I.
With each pose above, remember that this practice is about forming a bond with your dog. Perhaps you won’t get exactly the right look, but the point is to be together.
“Yoga means union, in all its significances and dimensions.”—Indra Devi
Watching my puppy chew a bone enthusiastically for two hours straight teaches me more about meditation and presence than any guru ever has. Dogs are always right in the now. I try and end my yoga practice with ten minutes of meditation together. My dog doesn’t need the practice, but I sure do.
“The present moment is the only moment available to us and it is the door to all other moments.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
There are plenty of resources to deepen your practice with your dog. Many metropolitan areas have doga classes occasionally, and some instructors are willing to teach you and your pup in your local studio—just ask!
If there are no classes near you, expand your practice at home. Find Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi by Brenda Bryan online today.