Sure, it sounds strange. But if you think about it, it’s really just about doing yoga with your dog. And in the tiny city of Hong Kong, where locals love them but local authorities aren’t too fond of them, Dog Yoga – or Doga – is not only a novel idea. It is a very, very good bonding activity for many pootch-smooching citizens.
Yoga + Dog = Doga
According to Suzette Ackerman, Hong Kong’s first Doga instructor, dogs have been used in therapy and, as pets, are inherently soothing and de-stressing when held. The idea is simply to get people to do yoga with their dogs. In Ackerman’s Doga Classes, which she has been teaching since November 2010, pups and their owners are taught complementing pairs of yoga poses that allow them both to stretch and reach a mutual form of zen.
Bark, Bend, Bow and Bond
Doga apparently has a large number of benefits for both, the doggies and their owners. While the dogs get additional attention and quality time with their owners, the owners get a nice workout. Obviously, you won’t be able to strike wild poses with a Rottweiler, but smaller dogs can actually be used as counterweights with different workout effects. At the same time dog owners get to bond and build trust with their dogs by interacting in an unusual way.
And it seems to work – if it is any indication that some of Ackerman’s students have to borrow her own dogs in order to practice Doga.
While we’re at it, check out this artwork on dogs doing yoga.