If you haven’t heard the terms “downward dog” or “namaste”, you may be spending too much time in that cave of yours. Yoga has taken America by storm, as evidenced by the proliferation of yoga studios and teachers, the racks of yoga clothing and gear, and the number of yoga and meditation groups in public places.

Dogs, cats, and other companion animals seem to be getting in on the yogic action, too. Yoga with pets is growing in popularity, and proponents argue that it’s a wonderful way to bond with animals and allow them to experience the physical and psychological benefits of this ancient practice. Is yoga with pets right for you?

A Menagerie

If you’ve had any experience with yoga, you’ve probably noticed that many of the poses are named after animals. Besides the faithful dog, there are yoga poses (also called asanas) that are modeled and named after the cat, camel, cow, dolphin, pigeon, peacock, monkey, crocodile, scorpion, firefly, and many more.

The beautiful and natural movements of animals inspired the ancient yoga practitioners, and performing these postures today can help us feel more connected to and appreciative of the natural world.

Dogs, Cats, and Goats? Oh My!

Practicing yoga with pets seems like the perfect next step for animal lovers and yoga practitioners, but you don’t have to be an expert to experience this growing trend. Check out the following ideas:

  • Doga – Your dog is a natural when it comes to yoga, and now you can hone their skills or simply relax together with dog yoga, also known as doga.
  • Yoga with catsAnimal shelters and rescues across the country are promoting this trend as a way to bring awareness to the plight of homeless cats and increase adoption rates.
  • Goat yoga – Experience the joy of practicing group yoga in an outdoor setting as friendly goats frolick among, over, and sometimes on top of the yogis.
  • Horseback yoga – Connect with the beauty, gentleness, and power of horses with horse yoga, where an instructor guides you as you perform twists, stretches, and gentle yoga poses on the back of a tamed horse.

The Benefits of Yoga with Pets

Whether you put a yoga mat on the living room rug and pop in a DVD with your dog or cat by your side, or choose to join a more structured group, the benefits of yoga with pets are many, including:

  • Exercise for both you and the animal(s) involved
  • A decrease in anxiety and stress
  • Help with the winter blues
  • A calmer and more centered pet (and owner)

Have you tried yoga with pets? The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center would love to hear about it! Let us know at your next visit, or post a picture to our facebook page.