Yoga for You, Doga for Dog, Yoga-Doga for the Two of You

Animal Lover, Author, Massage Therapist, and Yoga Instructor Brenda Bryan believes in the healing powers of her Barking Buddha Dogma classes.  Both she and I believe that aging pets benefit physically and psychologically from the Hatha-based Yoga stretches that she teaches.  Older dogs suffering from hip dysplasia and other ailments feel relief by improving muscular skeletal health.  Opal and Dixie happen to wake up each morning and do their own versions of doga -- downward doga, that is -- while I do my yoga, but I must say, they’re much for flexible than I am. I attribute this not only to their doga discipline and diligence each morning, but to their diligence in downing our Flax Fur Pets supplement with each meal. This amazing supplement (if I may say so myself) contains a balanced blend of Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids. It has more Omega 3 than fish oil, perfectly balanced with both Omega 9 and Omega 6, which the body does not produce and fish oil does not contain. Flax Fur Pets not only enhances the immune system, but it promotes the growth of healthy membranes and keeps joints and muscles mobile and limber. Did you know that Flax Fur Pets is made using only the highest, human grade ingredients, and that if you wanted to sprinkle it in your own cereal or yogurt you could? I DO!

Bryan carved a niche for her business when she decided to offer a truly unique service. She was even featured in The New York Times. Her book, Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi was released last year.  Filled with photographs and descriptions of poses, the book serves as a reference guide for anyone looking to do Yoga with his or her dog. Despite my offer to sign-up for classes with them, I have to admit that Opal and Dixie were less than keen on my suggestion. That said, there are definitely benefits.

Kooky as it all sounds, not only will you meet other pet lovers at these classes, but you will also have a verifiable way of blowing off steam after putting in a long day at work.  What could be more gratifying than spending time with your four-legged best friend, gently stretching into Gumby-type poses?  As you master all of the most difficult stretches, you can feel your cardiovascular system thanking you for a job well done.  Your dog’s pain from the hip dysplasia will surely subside, and the two of you will become a force to be reckoned with.  Yoga was created to strengthen and tone muscles, improve breathing, and increase blood flow.

Benefits of Doing Yoga with Your Dog

There are numerous benefits to doing Doga.  Here are a few:

  • Classes give you and your precious pooch time to bond.
  • They allow you to interact with with like-minded pet parents, and for your dog to socialize with like-minded doggies.
  • They aid in eliminating stress and tension by relieving aches and pains throughout your and your dog’s bodies.

How to Find a Doga Class Near You

Here are some places on the web that teach Doga classes:

  • DogaDog: Doga Suzi Teitelman instructs classes in your home or at her Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  She sells handpainted yoga mats on her website as well as a Doga DVD.
  • Barking Buddha Dogma: The aforementioned Brenda Bryan’s Seattle based classes.  Her blog keeps students up-to-date on upcoming classes, gives information to the media, and includes pictures of dogs around town.
  • DOGMASF: Based right here in our beloved San Francisco, these Dogma classes are six weeks long and held on Tuesday evenings from June 1st to July 5th.

If there isn’t a class near you, contact local Yoga teachers and ask them if they would be interested in starting a group of their own.  Yes, yes, they make think, “Huh?” But they may also think, “Aha!”

Doga may seem odd at first glance, but it does have health benefits.  For older pets suffering from physical ailments, a healthy dose of Flax Fur Pets added to their food coupled with a good stretch can work wonders in improving their mobility and overall well-being…. just as it can ours.