Sit! Roll Over! Cobra Pose! – Yoga for Dogs takes off

Yoga teachers everywhere will be giving a new, literal meaning to the pose ‘downward dog’, for the latest craze for bendy yoga types is doga – or, incorporating your pooch into your workout.

Although time spent practising yoga may not give your pet as good a workout as playing fetch or going for a run, some experts think that it may help them achieve a calm and submissive state.

Suzi Teitelman, a yoga instructor who is based in Florida, came upon the idea when her own pet started to take an interest in her practice sessions – he liked to lie near her when she was running through her extended triangle and dolphin poses. She felt that her dog was able to pick up on the spiritual fulfillment she felt when practising – in her words:

“When you feel good, they feel good.”

She gradually introduced the furry, four-legged element into her classes, and DVDs and a training manual shortly followed. Since then, she has travelled the world training people, even as far as Japan and China.

New York vet Dr Robin Brennen heard of the craze, and was somewhat sceptical of doga until she attended a class. She said:

“I witnessed the demeanor of the animals changing during the class. They’ll come in barking, seven, eight, nine dogs in room, but by the end of the session, they’re sleeping. They’re in savasana (the final resting pose).”

She added that a yoga class does not place any physical demands on your pet:

“It’s a level one yoga class and with this big dog in front of you it’s hard to do poses. It’s basically stopping and starting.”

It’s hard to see how the spiritual side of Yoga affects your pet – after all, we don’t know what they think. However, Teitelman is convinced that they benefit:

“You’re moving their body. They’re getting touched, they’re getting love, and everybody needs to be hanging upside down.”

Up next: yoga for bats!