Nama-sit, Nama-stay: All About Yoga with Pets
If you haven’t heard about cat yoga, dog yoga (also known as doga), or even goat yoga, you may have been living under a rock lately. Yoga with pets is emerging as a fun way to connect with animals and, in some cases, as an outlet for adoption.
With the passion that both animal lovers and yoga enthusiasts share for their respective obsessions, yoga with pets seems like the logical next step in combining fun, exercise, and relaxation that both yoga and pets can bring to our lives.
Why Yoga with Pets?
Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time around pets has likely observed the natural stretching and fluidity of movement that most animals engage in throughout their day. Dogs and cats instinctively know how and when to move their bodies and do so with confidence and grace, something that yogis and yoginis everywhere aspire to do.
A major principle of yoga is awareness through breath and the various postures. Animals seem to possess an understanding of being in the now, and many pet owners report that their dogs, cats, and other pets have a way of reminding them to enjoy the present moment more often. This makes them perfect candidates for a yoga class.
In doga, your dog is expected to join you in experiencing the stretching, strengthening, relaxation, unity, and other benefits of a traditional yoga class. Depending on your dog’s personality, energy level, and training skills, it may take some time to acclimate them to the expectations of a doga class, but participants report a variety of positive benefits, including better impulse control, increased patience, and a deeper connection to their dog.
In many cases, doga can be modified to provide beneficial stretching and gentle exercise for senior, obese, or physically handicapped dogs. Teaching a dog to allow you to touch any part of their body, as is necessary in doga practice, can help them to overcome fears. This aids in nail clipping, and may allow you to feel for lumps, bumps, or other abnormalities you may have otherwise missed.
Cat yoga is fundamentally different from doga in ways that are probably obvious. Cats aren’t expected to be partners or provide any support other than their presence, beauty, and poise, and due to the ethereal nature of our feline friends, no two classes are alike. Cats may roam from person to person, lay on your chest during savasana (resting/meditation at the end of each class), or simply observe from atop a shelf or other vantage point.
Cat yoga is also being used as a way to spread awareness of the plight of homeless cats. In many cases, the cat participants are all available for adoption, and cat yoga classes increase their visibility and likelihood of finding a forever home.
Yoga with Goats
Yes, you read that right. This fascinating activity is a delightful way to experience goats and can be therapeutic in many ways. Participants join a group of goats in an outdoor space as the goats frolick, investigate, and sometimes even climb on top of the students. It’s not for everyone, but goat yoga classes are growing in popularity and popping up all over the country.
Have you ever done yoga with pets? We’d love to hear about it at your pet’s next wellness visit. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact your team at Schertz Animal Hospital with any questions or concerns regarding your pet.