Yoga, I get. I’ve taken classes and practiced off and on for years. I even get Bikram yoga -- though I only made it through one class, and had to stop halfway to go puke. You DO feel great afterwards!
And the mental benefits are clear, at least for me: the focus on breathing and movements clears my head in a way that nothing else can. So does going for long walks in the field with my dogs -- which they also clearly love.
But never once, ever did I even conceive of combining the two. Yoga and dogs, that is (or, doga, as some call it).
But, someone did. A lot of someones! There are doga studios everywhere. They claim to improve flexibility, enhance core strength, aid in digestion, and ... get this ... increase positive energy. Now, call me crazy, but when have you ever met a dog lacking in positive energy? Even the most beat-down shelter dog is practically brimming with it -- it’s part of what being a dog is. And, seriously, people who love their dogs enough to take them to doga probably don’t have dogs with negativity issues.
Then I looked at my 90-pound pit-shepherd mix who has serious issues being restrained or maneuvered in any way and wondered, ”How the hell would I ever get him into downward dog?” It’s one thing for him to stretch on his own, but for me to make him do it? (He’s giving me the side-eye right now. He really is.)
Dog yoga: Not terrifying at ALLOhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I see now. I do it just like this fellow. Clearly he is relaxed, calm, and full of positive energy. No, really, I checked, that’s not at allll a look of abject terror/get-the-eff-away-from-me.
Look. I love my dogs with a ferocity that not many people can understand. And they each have issues. They were rescues, one with an unknown puppy-hood (except that it wasn’t great). They don’t love it when they have to be crated or it rains and we can’t go walk.
But, um, they don’t need something to bring them inner peace. They don’t need special classes to bond with me, because you know what? I actually spend time with them, instead of barely carving out an hour to go wrangle them into weird poses, and making them lie quietly in a room full of other dogs, all of whom also want to be doing anything but.
So basically, we are going to an indoor studio, where they aren’t allowed to play or socialize or roughhouse or run -- you know, all the things that come naturally to them and that they love.
Dude, that sounds awesome. Sign me up!
(P.S. I am mounting a rescue operation for this poor smushy-faced soul. If you want in, bring Kibble [non-organic] and some dignity we can give him.)
Images via The New York Times