Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yoga and Doga for Humans and Pets

Both pets and humans need exercise, and although Pupcycled posts usually focus on dogs, this post will take a look at an exercise that is good for dogs, cats, and humans........... YOGA!

Yoga is gaining popularity with many pet owners for a variety of reasons. For humans, yoga allows you to lower your anxiety and stress through breathing techniques and slow movements. The movements and breathing allow for deep muscle stretches and relaxation. Yoga for humans and pets make perfect sense, since pets can also benefit from the same muscle stretching and relaxation movements. One common yoga movement, the downward dog, is the perfect example of how dogs and humans need to stretch similar muscles. 

When practicing yoga with dogs (or cats) some people refer to it as Doga. Some larger cities even offer pet yoga and doga classes to attend, but you don't have to leave your home to do yoga with your pet. Below is a video that shows some basic Doga movements with smaller and larger dogs. By trying a few of these simple movements at home, you can see if your pet is ready for an actual class.

Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not to take a yoga with pets class.

  • Does my pet get along well with pets he doesn't know?
  • Does my pet get intimidated or frightened by pets that are larger than her?
  • Is my pet spayed/neutered?
  • Does my pet follow commands when off his leash?
  • Does my pet like to be handled and cuddled on a daily basis?
Unfortunately, I live in a very rural area and won't be joining any yoga with pets classes, but I have tried a few moves at home following YouTube videos. Although, I mainly enjoy running and walking with my dogs, my two Lab/Collie mixes seem to be good candidates for doing Doga with. In addition, to basic yoga movements, they also seem to enjoy getting massages, so after long walks and runs, I plan to start doing more Doga and massage with them to help their muscles feel better. As I have introduced some of the yoga moves, I have been using the same words and working on training my dogs to know the movements, but one of the things that is great about yoga is that you don't have to do certain things all the time or really train your dog to do it. You can see what your dog is in the mood for and go from there and just have fun with it. My cat, for example prefers just to lie on the mat with me and be near me, not actually let me touch her and move her, but it can still be a time of bonding and relaxation. When starting yoga with your pets, let them be your guide, and pay attention to what they enjoy the most.
Yoga is also a great exercise to do indoors or outside. The relaxation and stretching of the muscles is something that benefits older pets as well as younger ones. It really is an exercise that can fit every person and pet!
Here is a handy chart, for yoga poses that I found on Pinterest. Be sure to check out the blog Run, Shop, Eat, Repeat. She has great exercise tips and a special page dedicated to her dog (which she does Doga with)! Be sure to leave comments here as well about ways you exercise with your dog.
Found on Pinterest through the blog Run Shop Eat Repeat


  1. Yoga with my cat consists of him walking in figure 8's around my arms and feet and headbutting me every chance he gets haha. I usually wind up locking him out of the room.

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