FOR THE LOVE OF YOGA WITH YOUR PET
As a centuries-old therapy for body, mind and soul, it is well known that yoga is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Add animals into the mix (whether doing gentle stretches with them or simply doing poses next to them while staying in close physical contact) and you will find a foolproof and FUN way to relieve stress.
Indeed, pet yoga classes can be quite beneficial for both practitioner and animal. In pets and people alike, stretching plays a key role in improving circulation as well as reducing stiffness throughout the body. As in any traditional yoga practice, when you come to the mat with an open mind and a sense of humor, both you and your pet will receive some benefits, including:
- Provides quality time to help develop a deeper bond together
- Teaches your pet to trust you
- Encourages you to be 'in the moment' with your pet
- Being in close contact with your pet’s body provides an opportunity for a health check to notice any lumps, cuts, sore spots or other issues
There are a variety of animal yoga class offerings, including: Dog Yoga, Cat Yoga, Bunny Yoga, Goat Yoga, Horse Yoga and even Snake Yoga. These classes offer unique experiences and are a great way to promote pet awareness, fostering and adoption ...as well as bring some LOVE and LAUGHTER into your yoga routine! Below are some tips, resources and videos for incorporating dogs, cats or rabbits into special studio classes or in the comfort of your own home.
Dog Yoga can leave dogs calmer, more focused and less prone to injuries. Also known as "Doga," it can be an effective form of behavioral therapy for canines as it helps to reduce anxiety in nervous, high-strung or hyperactive dogs. Plus, it can be good exercise for obese and elderly dogs.
SOME TIPS FOR PRACTICING DOG YOGA:
- Find a Dog Yoga book or video and see what works for you and your dog.
- Allow your dog’s innate curiosity to lead the way.
- Try placing treats, toys or their favorite blanket on the mat to help motivate them.
- Examples of partner poses you and your dog can do together: Downward-facing Dog, Wheelbarrow, Forward Bend, Chair Pose, Warrior I (smaller dogs can be lifted).
- Practice doing poses and stretching alongside a larger dog.
- Part of Dog Yoga can also include gentle dog massage.
- Rest together naturally during quieter poses.
- Do not push your dog to perform. Honor where they are and remember that dogs respond to your energy.
- If your dog isn’t exactly cooperating, don’t worry. Let them to do their thing nearby and they may eventually join in.
- You could also use the opportunity to teach your dog new tricks or commands while using the yoga mat as a designated training area.
- DO NOT allow dogs to chew yoga mats.
A DOG YOGA video to help get you started...
Stretching is a very important activity for all cats. Certainly we would all benefit if we could emulate a cat’s instinctive athleticism and stretch our entire bodies as thoroughly as they do – and immediately upon awakening. In fact, providing cats with the space to stretch out in different settings is a requirement included in animal welfare assessment guidelines. Doing gentle stretches with your cat or doing poses next to your cat can be a rewarding experience for both you and them. Cat Yoga has also been shown to improve behavior-related issues and can be helpful for overweight and elderly cats.
SOME TIPS FOR PRACTICING CAT YOGA:
- All you need to do is start your routine with your cat in the room and encourage them to join in.
- Of course, cats are notorious for not cooperating with demands. And, yes – that is part of their charm! Be patient and soon enough they may come to explore and perform their own poses next to you.
- Try placing placing treats, catnip or toys on the mat to help motivate them.
- Cats typically prefer softer music in a quiet, serene environment.
- Start a meditation practice with your cat. There's nothing quite like having a cat near you or sitting on your lap while you meditate. Their regal presence can make you calmer and more focused.
- DO NOT allow cats to chew yoga mats.
A CAT YOGA video to help get you started...
You can easily incorporate bunnies into your yoga practice as they hop around and explore your space. Bunny Yoga can be great exercise for rabbits who are kept in cages. Also, it can help with their socialization and get them to become comfortable with being picked up and held.
SOME TIPS FOR PRACTICING BUNNY YOGA:
- All you need to do is start your routine with your rabbit in the room and encourage them to join in.
- Bunnies usually prefer a more restorative, slow-paced sequence with soft music in a quiet, serene environment.
- Try placing lettuce, carrots or other rabbit treats on the mat to help motivate them.
- DO NOT cradle rabbits with their feet in the air ...or you may get a bunny kick to the face!
- DO NOT lift bunnies overhead ...they have fragile spines so always be careful when handling.
- DO NOT allow bunnies to chew yoga mats.
A BUNNY YOGA video to help get you started...