Doga is one of the latest fun quarantine rages I have picked up with my furbabies – it includes the practice of yoga exercises with your dog.
One thing I have learned is that doga success should be self-interpretative. Now, I don’t think my pups will be practicing the one-legged pigeon anytime soon. But I do find doga success in its effectiveness for bonding, becoming calmer, and allowing us to get some stretches in. The benefit we are focusing on today includes the beautiful and forgotten art of relaxation.
As a dog mom, you may rarely hear this type of word – let alone relaxing with your dog as well! The benefits of relaxing and calming down your hyperactive dog and yourself are invaluable for your mental health. Integrating relaxation exercises can also help with your pup’s behavioral issues.
How do you begin to incorporate this into your doga lifestyle? We know our dog’s anxiety and breathing levels are indicative of how we, their dog parents, are. So if we are watching something like a scary Netflix with our dog in the room, that breathing will look and feel different to our dog than if we are with them in more of a relaxed state.
We want to introduce and spend time with our dogs in a more relaxed-state. An easy way to begin integrating this into both of your lifestyle’s is to start with 1-2 yoga poses a day where you have the opportunity for that energy to transfer and be felt by your pup.
One of my fav go-to’s includes Child’s Pose, also referred to as Balasana. This is a restorative yoga pose that helps brings calmness to your mind since your head (or more specifically, third eye) is placed on the floor. The inward fold of your body reminds your brain that you are in a safe spot.
The nature of this pose and being around your dog usually makes them interested in what you are doing. This provides an initial opportunity for them to feel your relaxed state of mind and breath. You begin Child’s Pose in a kneeling position where the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Sit lightly on your feet but pivot your heels slightly outward. Lean forward so your arms are stretched way out in front of you and your forehead is touching the ground.
The Lotus Pose (also called Padmasana) is another good yoga move where you can incorporate touching your pup with your hands. This pose you begin sitting down and by bending the knee. You then place your right foot on top of the left leg to rest where you should feel a nice stretch.
Begin by bending the knee and placing the top of your left foot just inside the point where your hip creases near the groin. Bend your right knee, and gently lift your right foot on top of the left leg. Rest your leg just inside the point where your other hip creases near the groin.
When you are in this pose and ready to start taking deep breaths, place the top of your hands on your pup. This way, they will be able to feel the calming energy while you complete this yoga exercise.
Another good doga pose to start having your pup feel your calming energy is the Hero Pose, also called Virasana. This one also has the added benefit of helping your posture. Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Place your feet on either side of your hips and make sure your heels are pointed towards the ceiling.
Instead of placing both hands on your knees, have your pup in front of your and place the tips of your hands on them instead. This will not only help relax them, but also encourage them to follow your directions and by doing so, they will receive some wonderful and relaxing reinforcement.
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