DOGA - Yoga for You and Your Dog
DOGA - Yoga for You and Your Dog
By Mahny Djahanguiri /Founder of Doga
“An unleashed invitation to bond with nature”
In these difficult unprecedented times of global lockdown, practicing Doga on a regular basis can benefit both you and your dog. Through Doga, you can directly affect your dog’s behaviour by simply staying relaxed and centered.
What is Doga?
Doga is a human yoga practice that allows dogs to participate on their own accord. Instead of seeing them as a distraction to our yoga practice, we hold a space for them in our hearts and on our yoga mats, which enables them to join in, if and when they choose to.
Doga releases vital hormones that help to decrease anxiety and depression in both humans and dogs. Through yoga breathing exercises (kriya yoga), traditional yoga poses (hatha yoga) and chanting, our serotonin and oxytocin levels increase, helping to slow down our own pulse and heart rate, as well as our dog’s.
How important is the connection between you and your dog?
Your dog is like a two-year-old toddler, he has no filter! He doesn’t understand why you are in distress, upset or raising your voice. He will simply read your body language and try to protect you at all costs - that is his duty.
If you are in distress, your dog is in distress. There is absolutely nothing that separates you from your dog.
What are the benefits of practicing Doga?
There are many benefits of practicing Doga, it can:
- Decrease stress and anxiety in both humans and dogs
- Lubricate and strengthen the spinal column in dogs, while strengthening the human’s vital organs: kidneys, liver, spleen, lungs and heart
- Boost both yours and your dog’s immune system
- Help with sleep quality and aid digestion in humans and dogs
- Bring laughter and joy into one's heart
A regular Doga practice will allow your dog to receive clear signals that you are in control. The less you raise your heart rate, the less stress hormones are released from your endocrine system, meaning your dog can literally “sniff” your calm.
That’s why it isn’t necessarily important or vital to have your dog participate in your yoga stretches. He is allowed to sit on the couch and observe you from afar, taking part as and when he chooses.
I have never practiced yoga before, can I still take part in Doga?
It is helpful to familiarise yourself with yoga ethics, but it isn’t essential to have any prior experience of an actual yoga session.
Yoga is often misunderstood to be just a physical work out, but it goes far beyond that. It’s a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical work out all wrapped into one.
The breath is the key to unlock the natural symbiotic and organic relationships you have with yourself and nature (this includes your dog). Of course, the highlight of Doga is when you have your dog sitting on your lap (like a yogi guru) as you bend forward from your hips and massage his ears. This may not work instantly but if you remain consistent, all of this can be developed over time.
By being patient and open-minded you will take something away from each Doga practice.
Are online Doga sessions as good as physical classes?
The great thing with online classes is:
- You don’t have to feel self-conscious. Doga requires a sense of humor and a curious mind. It requires patience and creativity. If your dog barks or misbehaves no one will know, not even the teacher as you will be on “mute”
- Online classes are an excellent way to explore Doga for the first time as you can take part at your own leisure
- You don’t have to commute and can use a calming space you have at home
- You will increase flexibility and strength in your body
- During lockdown, your dog may be the only one able to keep you company, providing love and companionship. So, take the opportunity to connect with your beloved pet on a deeper cellular level, one you never knew existed. Return to nature and become one.
Do I need equipment?
You will need a need a quiet, enclosed room with no distractions, a yoga mat, cushion and blanket. If your dog has a bed he likes to rest in feel free to bring it into the room.
If you have children they are welcomed to join and if you don’t have a dog, they could use a teddy bear!
How can I get started?
Mahny and Robbie welcome everyone onto the Doga mat. Classes are available via Zoom and start from £10. To find out more or book a session, visit Doga Yoga.
Written by Mahny Djahanguiri