If you’ve ever thought about how to take your downward dog to a
whole new level, then have you ever considered bringing your actual dog into
your yoga practice? Yes. You read that right. Yoga with animals is a real
These days, people are practicing
yoga with all kinds of animals–cats, dogs, goats, horses, even
bunnies–because it turns out, there are legitimate benefits to being around
just about any kind of pet while you go through your sun salutations. Here are
6 reasons to make your yoga routine pet-friendly.
1. Pets Are Always Ready for Physical Activity!
It can be tough to motivate yourself to exercise, especially as
you get older and have limited mobility. Regular exercise is important, though,
for seniors. Yoga is a great option for increasing flexibility and strength,
and a pet just might motivate you to keep up a regular practice.
A pet is always ready for a fun activity. They’ll probably be excited
to join in on whatever it is your doing–whether you’re just stretching out or
really breaking a sweat. Your furry friend can help encourage you to stay
active and incorporate more yoga into your life.
2. It’s an Excellent Way to Bond With Your Fur Baby
Bonding with your pet is an ongoing
process. When life gets hectic, though, it can sometimes be difficult to make
time for activities you can do together. Enter, yoga.
While many of the benefits of yoga with
animals are for the human’s benefit, the bonding benefits go both ways. Pets
learn to trust their caretakers more through yoga practice, which offers a
relaxed, focused environment that allows you to nurture your pets and
strengthen your relationship with them.
3. Yoga Also Benefits Your Pet
Lots of pets struggle with the same problems we do. They can be
anxious, depressed, hyperactive, or stressed out for any number of reasons. If
you’re like most pet owners, you want the best for your furry friend, and you’d
love to help them relax and calm down. Yoga can help with behavioral problems
and make it easier to work through issues your pet may be having.
Because it’s a relaxing, trust-building activity, many pets
respond very positively to practicing yoga with their people. By focusing on
breathing and stretching, anxious animals or those with pent-up energy can calm
down and become mellower through yoga.
Some pets, like dogs, can more
actively participate in yoga than others, but the benefits can
extend to a number of different species.
4. Pets Help You to Remember Self-Care
Animals are fantastic for promoting
mental health and well-being. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) help people with
all kinds of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. But any pet can help you remember to practice
self-care and to prioritize your mental health, including stress-reducing
activities like yoga.
Pets prioritize their basic needs much
more effectively than we do in many cases. A hungry pet will eat and a tired
pet will sleep. They don’t deny themselves of the things they need. It’s a good
reminder to practice healthy self-care and to prioritize the essentials over
artificial priorities that could end up harming you in the long run.
5. Yoga Is Also Great for Your Pet’s Emotional Well-Being
Because our pets can’t talk, it’s easy to forget that they have
similar emotional needs as us. Yoga can be beneficial for enhancing your pet’s
emotional well-being by encouraging touch. Touch can activate positive brain
chemicals in both pets and humans, improving overall well-being and reducing
stress. And this isn’t only true for dogs–cats can also gain mental health
benefits from practicing yoga with you!
6. It’s Fun!
Most people who practice yoga already
find it enjoyable. But add some quality time with your pet, and your practice
could go from relaxing and enjoyable to a blast! It’s way more fun to stretch
out, smile, and cuddle with your pet than it is to veg out on the couch in
front of the TV with them.
Tips for Practicing Yoga with Animals
One of the most important things to
remember if you want to start practicing yoga with your pet is to make sure
they feel comfortable. Some pets will be more engaged and enthusiastic than
others and it’s important to respect their boundaries. Take it slow!
Even if you don’t have a pet of your
own, you can have fun by taking a goat yoga class or a session at a local
animal welfare organization offering dog or cat yoga workshops. It’s a fun way
to mix up your routine and gain all the benefits of practicing yoga with
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