Namaste — or should we say, paw-maste to all yogis and dog lovers! If you regularly practice yoga, you might be familiar with Puppy Pose. But have you heard about puppy yoga?
As you might expect from the name, puppy yoga is a unique type of yoga class combining elements of a traditional yoga practice with puppies’ unleashed joy and playful energy.
First came “Doga,” a home yoga practice for pet owners with their dogs, popular since the early 2000s. Yoga classes with puppies are a more recent trend in which participants attend an actual yoga class led by an experienced instructor accompanied by a room full of adorable puppies.
It might not be for everyone, and perhaps you’re on the fence about whether or not you should try this niche style of fitness class. If you’re curious about this idea — sit, stay, and keep reading as we explore all the fantastic perks of this innovative yoga practice!
Get ready to immerse yourself in the delightful world of puppy yoga!
- 1 Who is Puppy Yoga For?
- 2 Special Considerations
- 3 Extra Preparations
- 4 A Heightened Feel-Good Factor
- 5 Physical and Mental Health Benefits
- 6 Growing Popularity and Potential Impact
- 7 Questions About Animal Welfare
- 8 Embracing Joyful Puppy Yoga
Who is Puppy Yoga For?
This distinctive experience is perfect for yogis who are animal lovers. However, you don’t have to be a pet owner yourself in order to enjoy it.
Imagine you’re a dog lover whose apartment building or work schedule won’t allow pets. With puppy yoga classes, you can spend quality time with furry friends without fully committing to a pet-owner lifestyle.
Yoga studios also benefit from offering puppy yoga classes as they might attract new students to try out a class at their location. I can think of a few of my friends who might hesitate to accept an invitation to a studio class. But, with the added chance to play with some cute pups? It’s hard to turn down an opportunity like that!
Attending puppy yoga classes can be a win-win situation for the humans and dogs involved. For example, a studio might partner with a dog rescue for an adoption event. These classes are a perfect meet-and-greet opportunity for rescue pups and potential pet owners.
Since this is a relatively niche type of yoga, you might have questions about what to expect from a puppy yoga class. Next, we’ll review some tips to help you prepare for this fun and unique experience!
The intention of puppy yoga is good vibes, making it a positive (or paws-itive) event for all involved, whether two- or four-legged. To ensure the safety of everyone, let’s talk about some standard protocols you should follow.
Safety should always be your number one priority in puppy yoga classes. If you are an instructor considering hosting a class like this, these tips are especially for you!
- Keep it simple!: Puppies are delicate creatures, and your students will likely be distracted. So, when planning your class sequence, stick to simple poses suited for beginners — leave the arm balances and inversions for another day.
- Take your time!: Puppies can be unpredictable and impulsive in their playful moments, so try to maintain a leisurely pace in your asana sequence. Remind your students to watch for tumbling running puppies as they flow between poses.
- Keep a careful eye on the kids: Any children attending puppy yoga classes must be under supervision at all times, both for the safety of the kids and the puppies.
- Ensure a safe environment: Before beginning the class, walk around the room to double-check that there are no possible escape routes for those sneaky pups!
First and foremost, it is the instructor’s responsibility (as well as the location) to host a safe event. With careful planning and special attention, it’s bound to be a positive experience for everyone!
For people who haven’t spent much time around puppies, it might be a shock how rambunctious they can be. If you’re used to a quiet, peaceful yoga practice, be prepared for your patience to be tested!
Puppy yoga classes require a calm and patient demeanor, as puppies can sometimes be unpredictable. In a way, that makes it the perfect opportunity to practice cultivating inner peace and mindful focus.
Can you balance in Tree Pose while a tiny pup nibbles at your toes? Puppy yoga classes should be the ultimate test for a Zen yoga master!
Recommended Equipment and Extras
Before you attend a class full of furry friends, be sure you’re prepared with the right gear:
- Yoga mat: Usually, we’d recommend a top-notch thick and grippy mat (like this one from Lululemon). But in this particular case, remember that puppies love to nibble and chew on nearly everything! So, if you have a second mat you use for outdoor practice, take that instead.
- Comfortable Clothes: Any clothing you feel comfortable moving in will work fine for these classes. However, leave the jewelry at home — you don’t want a tiny paw caught on your necklace or earrings!
- Towel and mat cleaner: As cute as puppies are, they likely won’t be potty trained yet, so expect that accidents may happen! A towel and mat cleaner might be helpful to have on hand. (Check out Manduka’s Botanical Disinfecting Cleaner here!)
- Treats!: Some tasty snacks for your furry friends are the secret ticket to keeping the puppies engaged during the session. These might be provided as part of the event, so check with the location before you bring your own.
Preparing Your Mind and Body
Adding puppies to your yoga flow may shift the focus of the class. It’s less about the physical asana and more about your mental state. It’s bound to get a little chaotic — but in a cute way. So, take time to clear your mind and settle your energy before the class begins.
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Meditate for a few minutes to calm your mind.
Remember, patience is vital when dealing with puppies!
A Heightened Feel-Good Factor
The Uplifting Power of Puppies
As a dog owner myself, I can tell you that whenever I experience tough days, there’s nothing better than coming home to a happy dog. Magically, everything seems better. That’s the idea behind practicing yoga with pups!
You’re not just doing downward dog with a room full of cute puppies. You’re giving your emotional health a boost. When you hold them close, or they sit on your lap while you stretch, it feels as if all worries have disappeared for those moments.
Puppies are little bundles of joy that can melt your heart in seconds. They give you this feeling of unconditional love that’s hard to find anywhere else.
Happiness Hormones Unleashed
Did you know that keeping company with canines is excellent for your health? When you pet or play with these adorable puppies during these sessions, your body releases increased levels of “feel-good hormones” like serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin.
These hormones help decrease stress and anxiety levels, making you feel more relaxed and contented. After receiving a dose of this unconditional love, you might also find yourself more compassionate and generous toward other people!
Physical and Mental Health Benefits
Improves Flexibility, Balance, and Concentration
In general, yoga is a fantastic way to improve your flexibility. These classes offer the same opportunity and move at an easy pace. Spending plenty of time in each posture will allow you to experience a nice stretch.
You may even find yourself willing to hold a stretch longer than usual! Imagine yourself in a Seated Forward Bend or Bound Angle Pose with a darling pup sprawled out across your lap. You’ll be less likely to rush through those often intense stretches.
At the same time, the playful interaction with puppies provides an added challenge when holding balancing poses. In that sense, these classes are an effective way to develop better concentration and focus.
Stress Reduction Techniques
Next up: stress reduction. Like other forms of exercise, yoga with puppies is great for your mental health. These classes, in particular, relieve stress and anxiety in a couple of unique ways.
Dogs can help people reduce their cortisol levels (the anxiety-causing stress hormone). Even just ten minutes of petting produces significant results. Imagine what a full-length class surrounded by adorable doggies can do!
Mindfulness is another great benefit of this unique practice. Have you ever seen a creature living in the moment more joyfully than a playful pup? As a dog owner, I am constantly reminded to be present when out for a walk with my pup as I watch her take in every sight and sound.
Puppy yoga classes are a fabulous reminder to stay present and delight in every moment.
Finally, let’s talk about mood enhancement. Puppy yoga fosters a positive mindset that can boost your overall mood. Participants often leave a session feeling happier and more relaxed than when they started.
This isn’t just due to the happiness hormones we mentioned — the social aspect is important, too. These programs provide a safe environment for people to experience these benefits while offering plenty of socialization opportunities.
It’s a great activity to share with family or friends, but it’s also a perfect event for making new connections with fellow yogis and dog lovers. If you’re a shy person, the fun and casual vibe might help you muster up the confidence to make new friends.
Being in the company of people there to have a fun and chill time creates a collective positive vibe everyone benefits from!
Growing Popularity and Potential Impact
A Global Trend
This one-of-a-kind yoga experience is taking the world by storm, partly thanks to social media trends and celebrity endorsements:
- It was featured on an episode of the famous British show Bake Off: The Professionals
- Social media platforms have given the practice a big boost. Who doesn’t love to share cute dog content on their Instagram stories?
Promoting Animal Adoption
This niche style of yoga is more than just a trend; it’s a chance to make a difference! It’s helping puppies find their fur-ever homes.
Many classes use rescue puppies who need a family. It’s not uncommon that participants often end up adopting these adorable furballs.
So, be warned: if you think you’re casually showing up to a class for a chill time, you just might walk out of the studio a new pet owner!
Questions About Animal Welfare
Of course, as this trend gains popularity, there will be people looking to cash in on the popularity without giving much thought to the animals involved. This type of event might raise some questions and concerns for true yogis who follow the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-harming or non-violence toward all living beings).
Here are some things to keep in mind if you choose to participate in a puppy yoga class.
- Source: did the puppies come from a rescue or breeders? There are concerns that the rising popularity of puppy yoga classes encourages bad breeding practices to meet the demand. Even if the animals came from local breeders, that might not be something you’re willing to support. So before you sign up, ask!
- Age and health: consider the age of the puppies: a litter of puppies should stay with their mother for at least 8 weeks. Any younger than that, and you should be concerned. Similarly, the pups should appear to be well-fed and taken care of.
- Treatment: these classes can benefit dogs who are up for adoption as they help with socialization. However, the animals shouldn’t be forced to entertain people who attend the classes. The pups should be allowed chill time during the class if they need rest.
As popular as this fitness trend is, it is not without criticism from some people. But when done with the right intention, puppy yoga classes benefit all involved! As long as you do your research about the company hosting the event or class, you can take part in this unique experience without any reservations.
Embracing Joyful Puppy Yoga
This special yoga style is not just about the yoga poses; it’s about connecting with these furry friends in a relaxing environment. The practice combines the physical benefits of yoga, such as improved flexibility and strength, with the emotional perks of spending time with puppies.
The ticket to embracing this joyful practice begins with understanding the guidelines, preparing appropriately, and appreciating its feel-good factor. It’s no surprise that puppy yoga classes have gained popularity, given their positive impact on physical and mental health.
So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to add joy to your life while trying something new, consider adding some canine company to your yoga flow! It might just be the thing to make your days brighter and happier.
FAQ 1: What are the main benefits of puppy yoga?
Puppy yoga classes offer numerous benefits for both body and mind. Physically, it helps improve flexibility, balance, and strength through various poses while mentally relieving stress from interaction with puppies.
FAQ 2: How should I prepare for a puppy yoga class?
Preparation for a puppy yoga class includes wearing comfortable clothing suitable for movement and bringing your own mat. You might also want to bring some wipes or towels, as puppies can sometimes be unpredictable!
FAQ 3: Are there any restrictions or prerequisites for participating in puppy yoga?
Generally speaking, anyone who enjoys dogs and wants to try a new exercise can participate in these fun and unique classes. However, each studio may have its own guidelines or prerequisites, so it’s best to check before attending.
FAQ 4: Does interacting with puppies during the session distract from the workout?
While having puppies around during your workout might seem distracting initially, many participants find that their presence actually enhances the experience by making it more enjoyable and less stressful.