When you mention dog-friendly yoga, people don’t jump on that enthusiasm train right from the get-go. Some say, “Are you serious?” Others frown upon the very idea of what seems to be a likely “torture” for their besties. There’s an aura of skepticism around the idea of sharing your meditative routine with your four-legged companion. A downward dog doing a downward dog? There is no room for tautology in yoga. Appreciating and understanding the benefits behind it takes a little warming up. Even for more than open and inviting New Yorkers. Dog yoga. Doga? Yes, doga. It’s not just another pandemic-crazed trend. There’s science behind it, and we’ll be more than glad to share it with you. A dogini to your yogini, a dogi to your yogi. How irresistible-sounding is that? If you’re interested in expanding your yoga journey, sit back and get acquainted with dog-friendly yoga in NYC.
Doga: Dog yoga is a thing in NYC
And for a good reason. We all love our New Yorkers for being progressive and open to new experiences. If there is a trend pending, you know they will get right on it, test it for wear and tear, peek inside every nook and cranny, make fun of it, argue with it, all until they reach their final verdict. If the trend is here to stay, you know it’s been approved by the harshest judges. It’s like getting a stamp on your passport by Simon Cowell. So. Doga is here, approved with nods and bouquets. Why? Let’s find out.
It starts with you
Once you get familiar with the concept of doga, it will be hard to shake the habit. (the good thing is, you won’t have to) If you’re currently based in New York, you probably struggle with sustainable ideas on how to get your dog the much-needed exercise. We know New York’s middle name isn’t exactly Tranquility Nucleus. It’s hectic; it’s unpredictable; it’s a living organism that frequently messes with our daily schedule (your G train isn’t running this afternoon). Getting home to your dog before taking them for a long run often becomes unmanageable. So, why not take your dog to your yoga class instead?
Give me all the benefits – woof!
We all have Suzi Teitelman to thank, doga’s “founding mother.” After 9/11, Suzi started bringing her dog to yoga classes. It spurred what was to become the very trend we now acknowledge as one of the most bonding activities a person can have with their pet. It’s been 20 years since the birth of dog-friendly yoga in NYC. Are we still not convinced by the apparent benefits? Let’s take a closer look.
When you think about it, yoga poses often mimic an animal’s natural movements, from cobras to pigeons to camels. On the other hand, humans tend to struggle with their body’s flexibility. Essentially, it’s fair to say we’re trying to be more like our four-legged besties, not the other way around. Simply by enjoying doga, you ensure your dog receives all the daily exercise they need for optimal health. Its benefits include:
- cardiovascular health: lowering the blood pressure and improving circulation
- great for orthopedic issues: improves joint health and your dog’s muscle mass
- staying at a healthy weight: dogs burn calories, too
One look in their eyes, and you know this love is taller than the Empire State Building. (for all the fans, this is a SADE reference, yes) Would you believe us if we told you your bond could deepen through doga? As much as being two merry couch potatoes is a beautiful image, the physical bond you experience with your pup transcends the boundaries you once thought were unsurpassable. Cuddling is a verb descended from heaven, but having your dog be a great workout buddy impacts your bond overall. Working on your savasana and asanas together, you and your pet will experience a more profound sense of security and connectedness.
Social butterflies tandem
We all understand the importance of being (sorry, Oscar Wilde fans, not Ernest) social. Having a dog is a form of parenthood. And just like any other good parent, you want your child to thrive socially and be accepted by the herd. Dog-friendly yoga in NYC provides you with an opportunity to build your best friend’s confidence while practicing what they do and enjoy best: interacting and playing. A doga class is an all-time favorite: they get to lie around, make new friends, and spend quality time with you. Each class is designed in such a manner, so both of you can benefit from it.
Dogs have an emotional apparatus of a 2-year-old; that’s a scientific fact. And just like any other child, they feel restless and insecure when their parents are not around, they are prone to high anxiety levels, and they are good at being emotional sponges. They will mirror us right back if we’re feeling under the weather. That’s precisely the reason why yoga poses help alleviate stress. It simultaneously lowers your bestie’s anxiety levels as it relaxes you, making it more of a harmonious waltz than anything resembling circus training.
It redefines fun
Some people are not that fond of the dog-friendly yoga concept. It seems limitating and maybe a bit controlling to an untrained eye; the truth is – our dogs are the happiest when they get to spend time with their owners. Fact no.2 – dogs are working animals. Their DNA is famous for enjoying discipline (more than we can say about ours). Not only will you be doing them a favor by bringing them to your yoga class, but it will also redefine the way you spend time together and what you do for fun. Playing fetch and regular walks are great, but dogs have excellent memories, even though they don’t get easily bored. No one enjoys living “Groundhog Day.” Stimulate them with something new. They will love every minute of it.
Taking your dog to yoga will benefit you and your best friend.
Challenges of dog-friendly yoga in NYC
Some of us have wallflowers for pups. And getting them into the yoga studio (and remaining engaged throughout the session) can prove challenging. Every dog is different. If your doggie isn’t too comfortable around strangers and new stimuli, you should consider whether doga is the right thing for them. If you’re having any concerns about whether your pet is ready for this type of experience (being around other dogs, new smells, new spaces), we advise talking to a doga instructor before booking your first session.
Where to find doga in NYC
Doga instructors can be found just about anywhere in New York City. If your neighborhood lacks a doga studio, there are private sessions available with some of the best instructors in the US.
If you’re living in Brooklyn, this is the name to remember. Anna Farkas is a renowned yoga teacher and instructor based in Brooklyn. If you and your pooch are up for this bonding adventure, booking a private session for the ultimate doga experience with Anna is available. It will be just you doing yoga as your dog gets familiar and comfortable. As the session progresses, you will slowly include your dog in the routine. Start with a stretch and go from there.
Some call her a yoga goddess; some call her a hidden gem. Lilian is a private yoga instructor also based in Brooklyn. She does everything from prenatal yoga to doga, welcoming you into a tranquil home setting. Bonding with your dog with her help is nothing short of a treat.
From holistic life coaching to reiki sessions, healme.NYC is a place where people host charities, and clients close the door on their way out with genuine smiles. All of their classes are executed with profound professionalism and great empathy. Lady Damia is the proud owner of this incredible oasis on 44th St.
From an instructor’s point of view
Their techniques may vary, but all doga instructors agree on this one: We spend less and less quality time with our pets, and it’s sad. Dogs love us unconditionally, but our priorities today are always elsewhere. Petting our best four-legged friends has become a part of the multitasking scheme. We watch TV shows with one hand on the phone and the other scratching their belly. We don’t have the time. Giving them that special time of the day means the world to them (and to us, we just tend to forget!) Enjoy a round of golf with your pup, take them to doga class, and revive the bond.
To love them back. They will never forget it. The time you spend interacting with your furry buddy will be more than beneficial for their overall mental and physical health. Yours, too. So, don’t let anything distract you from trying out dog-friendly yoga in NYC. You won’t regret it.