Has Yoga Gone to the Dogs?

The answer is yes, and it’s called DOGA (I’m not making this up).

Apparently, there’s a new movement afoot in the wild and wacky world of yoga where owners are now attending yoga classes with their dogs. But the dogs aren’t being used as props, mind you. These animals are actually striking yoga poses.

According to this article in the NJ Star Ledger, a yoga instructor named Karin Stoetzer is instructing a doga class at the Morris K9 Campus in Randolph, New Jersey. Owners strike yoga poses and help their canine friends to do the same.

Stoetzer claims that her “exceptionally Zen” 2 1/2 year old German shepherd has always favored the cat stretch.

“Every time I would practice, he would be by me,” Stoetzer says. “They feel the calming energy. They wanna be with you.”

The dogs are exceptionally quiet in her class, writes the Ledger’s Amy Kuperinski. “As the class proceeds, the dogs do not frantically circle the gym or sniff each other. Instead, they are content to just ‘be.’ And when the human students begin to stretch their dogs — gently extending back legs to exercise their pets’ hip flexors — they are just as calm.”

“The whole goal for this class is we’re not using the dogs as props,” Stoetzer tells students. The practice is intended to encourage flexibility and massage in dogs, especially those who are prone to arthritis as they age.

Suzi Teitelman, who has a collection of doga videos on her website, claims yoga originated from animals. “Monks sitting in the forest, watching animals just be,” she explained.

Her first doga classes were called “Ruff Yoga” in which she hosted class in Central Park and Washington Square Park for people and their dogs.

“I think it’s neat that so many other people want to teach it,” Teitelman says. “It’s for the dogs, it really is.”

Being a cat owner, I couldn’t help but wonder when our feline friends would be included in the craze.  But alas! Someone already thought of it! (I kid you not.) It’s known as Kittyoga.

What will they think of next?

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