Ever thought of doing Yoga with your dog? Try Doga!

Rens Hageman
Rens Hageman

What is Doga? Doga is a human yoga practice that helps support the natural bond we have with our dog. Doga isn’t just about the physical. Doga is the sacred union between Dog and owner.

You don’t need to be good at Doga or even good at yoga! Your dog is allowed to “misbehave” as we trust that Doga will work it’s magic on you and your dog regardless of whether your dog is involved in the poses or not.

“If you’re feeling anxious about your dog, or your dog feels anxious about you… Doga can help.” (Phillip , 52)

Doga works on the natural symbiotic relationship that already exist between you and your dog. If there’s stress and tension in YOU, your dog may feel it and absorb your tension… this may reflect and his immediate environment and the way he socialises we other dogs. By releasing any tension, stress or anxiety you automatically help your dog to be more accepting and secure to meet other dogs without worrying about you. Yoga can help this process and Doga is the magic glue that derives from your internal practice of Yoga.


Stress is one of the common causes of disease and death. This doesn't just apply to humans but also to canine. Bringing your dog to yoga:

Increases his life expectancy

Decreases high blood pressure

Lowers the heart rate

Regulates the adrenal glands

Balances and replenishes the parasympathetic & sympathetic

nervous system responsible for “fight or flight”

Builds trust to humans and deepens his / her bond

Governs sleep and digestion

Decreased anxiety & depression

Aids with the process of rehoming, fostering or adopting a new dog.

Doga is fun

A sense of humour is required for it to work. Having your dog included in your yoga practice enables you to observe “your attitude” towards yourself and all living beings and get a deeper insight and understanding of behaviour patterns that arise from the mind.

"I love it when my dog interrupts my yoga because he reminds me that I mustn’t be so uptight about getting the poses right. There’s no such thing as perfection, anything goes.”

(Judy Lambery and Moxley, Greyhound)

The breathe is the key

Similar to young children, dogs ‘copy’ the owners breathing habits. Restless, irregular breathing pattern can influence the dog’s behaviour as well as sound and touch. Mahny came to realise by using ‘yogic’ breathing and physical contact (massage) the dog’s heart rate would slow down automatically, improving the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to the flow of the blood.

The dog’s parasympathetic nervous system would usually kick in after the first 20 minutes of a yoga session. Similar to a human yoga class some dogs may fall asleep on the yoga mat, some may enjoy a quiet space far out of reach from the group while other dogs may happily join in the fun.

Why do yoga with your dog?

Besides extending dog and human years...

It's FUN! (in Doga anything goes) Large and Small dogs are welcome

You and your dog get to socialise with fellow Yogis and Dogis

You'll get a great Yoga Stretch whilst your dog may or may not participate

You can let go of ownership and simply enjoy each others company and strengthen the natural bond

You no longer have to feel guilty joining a yoga class and leaving your dog at home

Both of you will benefit calming your central nervous which helps with sleep and digestion

Within 6 sessions your stress level will decrease as well as your loyal companion's

I remember meditating with my mother in the mornings when I was growing up. Slowly and quietly, the dogs (she has three) would gravitate into the room and sit or lie down by our side. Usually rambunctious and playful, they could sense our energy and notice that it was time for quiet and stillness and just rest with us.

We all know about the core yogic poses inspired by our canine companions: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), and Urdvha Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)... But yoga with your dog?

Yoga with your dog, aka “Doga,” is one of the newest, strangest trends in yogic practice, and it’s gaining worldwide recognition. It all started in 2011, with a woman named Suzi Teitelman Arab.

On her website, Teitelman states that Doga is simply “about sharing your yoga practice with your pet.” She considers it to be a form of partner yoga. It is about connecting to your dual breathing and being present together. When Suzi began Doga, she was the director of yoga at Crunch Fitness.

She began teaching doga privately and at her studios after becoming inspired by her cocker spaniel, Coali, who liked to join Suzi on her mat at home. It began organically, and soon Suzi started to write a sequence that she and Coali could share. She now lives with her three dogs in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and continues to teach Doga privately and in online classes.

Do dogs do Yoga?

Doga, like yoga, is more about the inner experience than it is about getting the poses right. The practice involves massage, meditation, stretching, and relaxation techniques. Some poses include Chaturanga, in which the dog lies on their stomach and their human strokes their back; Utkatasana, in which the dog sits on their hind legs and raises their front paws as their human holds them from behind; and Savasana, where the pup will lie on their back and their human companion will rub their belly.

It may not seem like much, but sharing these experiences with your pup is mutually beneficial in numerous ways, including lowering blood pressure and decreasing anxiety. Even if your dog isn’t particularly interested in doing the poses, just being around your dog can have an incredible effect on your health and state of mind.

Since its creation, Doga has caught on with many practitioners around the world. In January 2016, a record-breaking number of yogis gathered in Hong Kong to practice with their furry pals for 60 minute sessions, and just a year earlier a similar session was held in San Diego.

Doga practitioners believe that the practice improves their dog’s health, and they feel that it builds a stronger bond between them and their pets.

Dogs + Yoga = The perfect union

Dogs are naturally inclined to a lot of the fundamentals of yogic practice. For one, dogs are fully present in each moment. They are incredibly receptive, patient, and have a lot to teach us about letting go. They are so naturally in-tune with their bodies and breath that they are able to act in a selfless manner.

Just like yogis, however, to stay in-tune with their bodies, dogs need a healthy foundation for practice. This comes with a nutritional diet. ORGANIX®, the leader in organic dog food, is focused on providing complete and balanced recipes with organic ingredients free from chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial preservatives, antibiotics and added growth hormones. Feeding your dog all of the good stuff keeps their bodies in-tune to focus on a fulfilling practice.

Practicing with your dog is primarily about setting an intention, and taking time to tune in with yourself and those that you love. Reading them and learning what is right for them is what’s most important. Suzi believes that “all of us have an innate truth and calmness within us. Dogs find it easier than we do.” Receptivity to energy and breath is a beautiful practice, and dogs are naturals at it.

DOGA Yoga for you and your dog. By Mahny Djahanguiri. Published on 5, May 2015, by Hamlyn.

Involving your dog in yoga sessions can help you develop your yoga practice, as well as being an entertaining and fun way to bond with your pet. Doga provides a mindful connection with your dog as you mimic your pet’s breathing patterns and have to stay controlled throughout the pose to ensure your pet’s comfort. As an activity it de-stresses your dog and creates a wonderful sharing and nurturing experience.

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(Article Source - Various)

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