Doga (Dog Yoga)
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Through acts of meditation, gentle massage, and stretching, doga practitioners seek to achieve a greater harmony with their dogs. Canine acupuncture and chanting are also known to take place within the occasional doga routine.
In Doga, owners and their pet dogs work as one unit - the owners help their dogs facilitate different poses and, in some cases, the pets are used as props or instruments while the masters perfect their poses. This is seen to be a unique way of practicing non-traditional yoga and training, while exploring power play dynamics.
Doga has received some criticism from the yoga community. Doga classes have been labeled inappropriate for trivializing the sacred practice by turning it into a "fad", for their lax policies on teacher certification, and for the dogs' interference in participants' concentration and relaxation when they are not properly trained to cooperate.
The UK charity Dogs Trust have also warned that unsupervised Doga may impact the welfare of the dogs, stating: "It is important to remember that dogs can't tell us when they have had enough. Doga, and any variation of it, should always be carried out under the watchful eye of trained professionals".
Doga enthusiasts have argued that the practice emphasizes yoga's focus on union between beings, helps establish a pack mentality, strengthens the bond between owner and pet, and can provide additional weight resistance thereby intensifying one's yoga ritual. Doga can purportedly also provide a great source of entertainment for dog-friendly class members.
Benefits to Doga:
- it can be relaxing for the dog and the owner
- can be helpful to injured dogs
- provides a good exercise for obese or elderly dogs
- bulid a better bond between owner and pet
- allows owners to get a better handle or control with their dogs
- Lawson, Alastair (July 6, 2004). "Stressed out dogs relax through yoga". BBC News.
- Lo, Christina (October 7, 2010). "Dog yoga takes Taiwan by storm". ChannelNewsAsia.
- Chisholm, Anna (October 2, 2011). "Dog yoga, or doga, is latest fad to calm rowdy canines". The Sunday Mail. Queensland.
- Blankenship, Donna Gordon (April 21, 2007). "Partnered dog yoga helps you and Fido be calm, centered". U-T San Diego.
- "Dogs doing yoga? Must be Sweden's economy overheating". New York Times. May 24, 2007.
- "Dogs 'need' yoga too". ABC News. January 25, 2004.
- Brilliant, Jennifer; Berloni, William (2003). Doga: Yoga for Dogs. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-811-84167-2.
- Sparks, Bev; Bryan, Brenda (2009). Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi. Seattle, Wash.: Skipstone. ISBN 978-1-594-85141-4.
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