The pet owners and yoga lovers can now combine their passions together, all thanks to the ‘Doga classes’! Special yoga classes have emerged all across the United States for pet owners and their dogs. These Doga classes combine massages and meditation with gentle stretching for both human and canine. The concept is welcomed with open arms by the pet owners as it gives them a chance to spend some extra time with their beloved pet. There’s nothing more relaxing for pet owners than balancing their pet on the belly while stretching. Yoga teacher training in India has always emphasized on creating a connection with other living creatures and dogs are the best partners for the same!
Origin of Doga
If you are thinking about how this unique concept came into existence, the credit goes to Florida-born yoga instructor Suzi Teitleman. ‘Doga’ was found eight years ago by Suzi Teitleman and today, the popularity of Doga classes has skyrocketed in the US.
Suzi, who herself is an owner of three dogs, started practicing Doga in 2001 and came up with first Doga classes in 2002. As stated by Suzi, practicing or teaching Doga wasn’t a planned initiative for her, but something which happened organically. Her pets used to come and lie under or next to her on the mat and displayed interest in participating with her. She began doing few movements with her pets and gradually came up with the concept of Doga.
According to Suzi, each dog reacts to Doga classes in a different way. For some dogs, it might come naturally while others might need more training. But in any case, it is not advisable to force the dog. It is important to understand the comfort of dogs as well. For Suzi, Doga is pretty much an extension of the traditional yoga teacher training in Varkala wherein you flow from one pose to another, work on your breathing and concentrate; except that you do it with your dog. She does not believe in using treats to train the dogs and insists on love, praise, and patience.
Issues with Doga
Though Doga is appreciated by most pet owners, the ardent yoga fans are uncomfortable with this development. They are sceptical that Doga has brought a futile fad to the 2500 years-old spiritual practice of yoga. Also, the quality of Doga classes is a matter of question since there is no official certification for Doga. The content and quality vary from class to class. While some classes practice veterinary-approved stretches and massages that help in improving the heart function and digestion of dog, others have dubious practices wherein dogs are trained in exchange for treats. Some instructors apply same efforts as traditional yoga teacher training in Rishikesh classes and others have a fun laid-back approach wherein owners can enjoy with their pets.
These days one can find several 300 hour YTTC Doga classes wherein pet owners and their dogs are taught some easy yoga steps which can be performed by the dogs. However, it is to be noted that not all dogs respond well. While some dogs readily follow the instructor or their owner, others are simply disinterested. It is better not to force them as it won’t work. There have been instances where dogs start barking and their owners have to keep the yoga aside and pacify their beloved pet. Each dog is different and responds differently to Doga.
Enhancing the bond between pet and owner
For some owners, the Doga has been a wonderful experience of bonding with their pet. A pet owner shared; her experience stating that ‘Doga’ not only gave the opportunity to bond with her pet over yoga but also gave a new meaning to the ‘downward dog’ yoga pose. Some other pet owners have been sharing their experiences stating that their pet really enjoys being rubbed and the Doga is simply amazing. By the end of the class, one can see contented owners and mellow canines. The pet owners have also felt a strong connection and enhanced trust with their dogs.
More and more people have realized that dogs make for a natural yoga partner who enjoys stretching as much as their owners. They love to be in contact with their owners and participate in whatever they do. Most importantly, Doga should be a way of having fun and not a ritual!
While Doga is amazing for pet owners, others can enhance their solo yoga practice with Yoga Teacher Training in Dharamsala at Mahi Yoga. The 200-hour training course offers a life-changing experience on both personal and professional level. It not only enables you to explore the deeper layers of yoga and spirituality but also helps in making a lucrative career in any part of the world.