Something New: Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick – Doga

November 26, 2017 pixelmark

Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick | dog doing yoga

Dog yoga now available in Las Cruces

Say it with me, slowly:
Ōm. Ōm. Ōm.

Oh yoga! Your delightful mystery is about to get downright playful. The esoteric Asian discipline sweeping America by storm encourages participants to get down on the floor and relax. The most popular mode of yoga, which explains and emphasizes the physical practices of stretching, breathing and relaxing, is called Hatha yoga.

Hatha yoga uses bodily postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana) with the goal of bringing about a sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind.

There are at least eight studios or facilities in Las Cruces that offer the practice, which aims to produce inner enlightenment. However, therapeutic, traditional yoga is not known to be particularly exciting. Until now.

New yoga trends gaining popularity this year include aerial yoga, laughing yoga, and paddleboard yoga, putting an uplifting spin on this ancient practice, which originated over 5,000 years ago. But for those of us, like me, who prefer to keep our feet planted on dry land, I introduce “Doga.” With a “D.” This new trend combines traditional yoga with the companionship of your best friend: your dog.

Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick | dog on a blue yoga mat
“His body language tells me he’s a happy camper.”

Starting in late October, Your Pet Space, a cage-free boarding and day care facility on Picacho Ave., is offering Doga—dog yoga—on a weekly basis.

And just who does the yoga? You or the dog?

Well, both. There’s light stretching and breathing techniques for the human and relaxation and soft body manipulation for the dog.

It’s important to emphasize that a dog needs to be introduced to yoga slowly and patiently because most dogs don’t understand what’s happening at first. They often resist and feel confused or scared. It has to happen at every dog’s own pace.

Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick | dog in a yoga poseA session starts with basic floorwork, which involves the human sitting on the floor with the dog sitting or lying on or between outstretched legs. Simple pushing and pulling movements that involve the dog’s legs, back, neck and tail encourage the dog to stretch his or her body in a variety of ways.

Of course, correct human body positions and breathing techniques need to be practiced as well, but yoga just seems more fun to me when my dog is there.

Not all dogs like all the movements. Be willing to skip one pose or take it out altogether. What’s most important is that the experience is both comfortable and pleasant for the dog. They can’t tell us what they’re feeling, so we have to be very intuitive about their comfort zone.

Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick | dog doing yoga with his owner
Traditional hatha yoga poses get tweaked to include the stretching and relaxation of your best friend.

I’ve seen the most benefit from the “camel” (ustrasana) position, which is like a modified back bend. If your dog will allow you to stretch him in this manner, you know he trusts you. In my experience, once the dog learns about this position, he loves it and seeks it out during sessions. To see my (rescued) terrier mix Rocco, an otherwise hyperactive and apprehensive dog lay on his back and stretch himself into a camel, is rewarding. His body language tells me he’s a happy camper.

Teaching your dog to trust enough to try poses such as the “camel” can have an impact on his or her everyday behavior.

Smaller dogs are easier to work with, but there are ways to get the larger breeds to accept and enjoy Doga, too. If you’re willing to get down on the ground, which involves a fair amount of stretching for yourself, you can manipulate a larger dog for a similar experience.

“They can’t tell us what they’re feeling, so we have to be very intuitive about their comfort zone.”

Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick | dog on a woman lap
Your dog can benefit from some of the same yoga techniques that benefit you.
“What’s most important is that the experience is both comfortable and pleasant for the dog.”

For information about the dog yoga classes contact Joy at:
Your Pet Space
3920 W. Picacho Ave.
575-652-4404

The post Something New: Teaching Your Old Dog a New Trick – Doga appeared first on Las Cruces Magazine.

Previous Article
Decorate Your Home With The Royal Treatment
Decorate Your Home With The Royal Treatment

Television’s favorite game is pushing current décor trends Written and... The post Decorate Your Home With ...

Next Article
The Voice of a Community: Our newest radio station is “for the people, by the people.”
The Voice of a Community: Our newest radio station is “for the people, by the people.”

Written and photography by Susie Ouderkirk How’s It Going? A... The post The Voice of a Community: Our newe...