Puppy yoga? What is it and what are the benefits? • Basics of yoga
Yoga is a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, but sometimes we can take our yoga practice too seriously. It is easy to fall into the desire to achieve self-realization, to realize one’s potential as much as possible and to bounce back from chaturanga. If you’ve been practicing yoga for years and want to add some lightness and playfulness to your practice, consider enrolling in a puppy yoga class. These classes offer the same benefits (and more) as traditional yoga, but with a twist — all of your classes will include playful puppies nibbling on you.
What is Puppy Yoga?
As the name suggests, puppy yoga classes feature adorable pups roaming from mat to mat, cuddling with participants and playing with other pups as you move, flow and breathe. Puppies are sometimes held in certain yoga poses, otherwise they happily roam freely around the room. Depending on the class, puppies can be borrowed from a local animal shelter or yoga classes can work with local breeders. If the puppies are from a shelter, this gives them the opportunity to be adopted, if from a breeder, most of the puppies will already be in demand. Regardless of the source, puppies get a chance to improve their socialization with others. A typical puppy class will have approximately 12-30 yogis and doggies, but we recommend checking with the instructor to be sure. Puppies in the class will be up to 14 weeks old.
Rules of yoga for puppies
There aren’t many rules in puppy yoga classes, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, puppies often gnaw and pee on things, so it’s a good idea to leave any expensive items behind. The class may not allow the use of outdoor mats or other items to protect the puppies’ immune systems. Second, for the same reason, don’t expect to bring your own dog to class. While most yoga studios do not allow phones to be taken into class, it is highly recommended that you bring a cell phone or other camera to take photos. In fact, some programs, like Yoga Coffee’s puppy yoga classes, will help each participant take memorable photos with these fun furry friends.
Benefits of yoga for puppies
Doing yoga with cute puppies is fun, joyful and magical. But beyond the pure joy of being surrounded by these dogs during yoga classes, signing up for these classes can actually provide many additional benefits.
1. Puppies are great motivators
A long-term practice of yoga can greatly benefit your mind and body. However, for you to enjoy all these benefits, you need to incorporate yoga into your lifestyle and practice it regularly. Yoga won’t have much of an impact on your well-being if you do it haphazardly. The presence of puppies can be a great motivation for you to continue practicing yoga. Instead of complaining about how early you have to wake up to join classes, you’ll look forward to going to those classes because you know some puppies are already waiting for you. Since every puppy yoga class is unpredictable, you’ll be excited to join all the classes and make sure you don’t miss a single one. You’ll be surprised how quickly time flies as you’re busy having fun training with these puppies!
2. Improves your mental health
Numerous studies have already confirmed the claims about the benefits of yoga for a person’s mental health. It increases your attention, focus and concentration and improves your cognitive function. Adding puppies to your yoga practice can further enhance the effects of these benefits. Puppy yoga can help you feel more positive and de-stress. Puppy yoga can also make you feel less isolated over time, especially if you’re used to living alone. Traditional classes allow you to surround yourself with people who share the same interests as you, but making friends with them can be difficult. With puppy yoga classes, you don’t have to worry about being tongue-tied, as puppies can always break the ice and provide natural opportunities to interact with other students. Making new friends is important for your mental health as it strengthens your sense of belonging and boosts your self-confidence. New friends can also reduce anxiety and stress, even as you get older.
3. Improves your overall health
Puppy yoga doesn’t just benefit your mental health; due to the positive interaction you can experience with puppies, exercising with puppies can also lower your blood pressure. Normal blood pressure reduces the risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Puppy yoga can also reduce stress levels in your body, helping to curb your appetite and avoid stress eating. Over time, doing puppy yoga can help you lose weight and promote a healthy diet.
4. Puppies are good too
Joining a puppy yoga class will benefit more than just yogis like you. This type of yoga actually works as a two-way street, as the pups who attend the class benefit from the experience as well. The positive interaction and mental stimulation you create in puppy yoga classes can also improve your pup’s health and well-being. With regular contact with people, puppies grow up and become very sociable animals. Some puppy classes also allow yogis to play with puppies that are actually up for adoption. This means that if you like the puppy you play with in class, you will have the opportunity to adopt it and care for it for years to come. This can be very beneficial for puppies.
Tips for participating in Puppy Yoga
1. Arrive early to get used to the environment
Arriving early can help you feel more comfortable and prepared, as you have extra time to get used to the environment and location of the class. It also gives you an opportunity to chat with the instructor, ask any questions you may have, and clarify any questions you may have about the class. Arriving early allows you to meet some of the participating puppies, allowing you to bond and get to know them closer to the start of class. This will help reduce initial anxiety and allow you to fully enjoy your yoga experience with your furry friends.
2. Wear comfortable clothes
Wearing comfortable clothing will allow you to fully focus on the movements and poses without feeling restricted or uncomfortable during your yoga practice. It’s best not to wear your favorite clothes while doing puppy yoga because there’s a good chance you’ll end up with puppy hair. Puppies love to play and may accidentally scratch or bite your clothes, so it’s important to choose something durable and easy to wash.
3. Practice proper handling of animals
Practicing good animal handling is critical not only for the safety and well-being of the little puppies, but also for a positive and enjoyable experience for all involved. Approach puppies slowly and calmly, allowing them to approach you on their own terms, rather than chasing or taking them without consent. When lifting them, support their whole body and do not grab them by the neck. Do not force them to adopt any postures or awkward positions. Respect their boundaries and signals, such as whining or trying to break free. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that everyone – humans and furry friends alike – has a great time during their yoga session.
4. Take care of your surroundings and the safety of the puppies
It is important to prioritize safety during training and to always be aware of your surroundings and the safety of the puppies. This includes being mindful of your movements and positions so you don’t accidentally injure or step on your puppy, and making sure the space is safe and clear of any hazards or potentially dangerous objects. It is important to follow any instructions or directions given by the trainer to prevent unnecessary risk or injury to yourself or the puppies. By remaining mindful and attentive throughout the session, you can ensure a positive and safe experience for both you and your furry friends.
5. Use soothing tones and keep the noise level low
When doing puppy yoga, it’s important to use soothing tones and keep the noise level low so you don’t startle or upset the puppies. Loud and sudden sounds can frighten these young animals and disturb the calm atmosphere in the classroom. By speaking softly and keeping any unnecessary noise to a minimum, you can help create a calm and relaxing environment that benefits both you and your pups.
6. Enjoy the experience and have fun!
The goal of puppy yoga is to provide a fun and unique way to practice yoga while enjoying the company of furry friends. Puppies’ playful energy can be contagious and can help you release stress and tension. Allow yourself to experience the fun and playfulness of the class and let the puppies put a smile on your face during training. Be present during the session and allow yourself to be immersed in the moment, allowing the playful energy of the puppies to encourage and lift your spirits. Don’t be afraid to laugh, smile and interact with other participants.
Try Puppy Yoga near you
If you enjoy practicing asanas while playing with cute puppies, start looking for studios that offer puppy yoga classes. You can also try contacting local animal shelters to see if they work with yoga instructors or yoga studios in your area.
If you’re still not sure what a puppy yoga class would look like, check out the video below: