Dog Yoga: Would You Pigeon Pose With Your Pooch?

There comes a point in every dog owner’s life when he looks his four-legged best friend in its big, glossy puppy eyes and wonders: Does my pooch lack inner peace?

Such is the case for many dog owners at least, as Dog Yoga – or Doga – has been an experimental practice among the pet set for the past couple years. Owners will do just about anything for their dogs, this we know; many people religiously give their dogs massages and swear by it, and we’ve written about Reiki for dogs, where Reiki masters tap into canine chakras to help them achieve balance. Here, it takes the concept one step further to benefit both owner and dog. Just four days ago in Hong Kong, Yoga instructor Suzette Ackermann conducted a yoga class for dogs, dubbed Doga. The class “aims to help dogs find their ‘inner’ peace and maintain a close relationship with dog lovers,” as reported on Yahoo! News. (Or maybe they’re just shaping up to be in a wedding?)

This isn’t a new activity. Downward-facing dog has taken on a whole new meaning over the past couple years, as owners across the US have been draping Dachshunds around their necks, balancing Bichons on their and backs and thighs, and lurching backwards over Labradors while practicing traditional yoga poses. This NYTimes story speaks with yogis who have mixed views; while some yogis are conducting classes (which need no formal certification), others express concerns that it’s turning a 2,500 year old practice into a fad.

As a yogi AND a dog-lover myself, I have to say I am in strong agreement with the latter. Come on dude, I understand wanting to spend QT with Fido, but yoga is not the time. Your dog will stretch when she needs to stretch, breathe/pant as fast or slow as she pleases, and lick her butt when she needs to do that too. For me, yoga is my precious time to internalize, to reflect, to spend time with my breath and my body. I can’t imagine that balancing a French Poodle on my back while I’m in plank position is going to benefit any parties involved.

What do you think? Have you – or would you – downward dog with your dog?

PS, if you are crushing these precious posing pooches, I suggest you skip the class and get your Doga fix with the 2011 Yoga Dogs calendar.

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