While exploring Twitter, I stumbled across the most interesting profile – @DogaYogaMahny from London.
Mahny Djahanguiri is Europe’s leading Dog Yoga expert and author of the book DOGA–Yoga for you and your dog.
Being a dog owner and yoga lover, I wanted to know all about doga and Mahny was kind enough to answer a few questions about it.
Mahny was on BBC’s The Barking Hour yesterday. Listen here.
What is doga?
Doga is a human yoga practice that enhances the natural bond one has with their pet. The dog aids as a weight (small dogs) or, if larger, as a yoga bolster. Doga includes canine massage, yoga breathing, yoga postures that you can do together with your dog. The main aim is to relax the owner so the dog can absorb the owners “calm.”
What are the origins of doga?
Doga originates from the US. A yoga teacher, Suzy Teitelman, explored doga with her two poodles when she found them wanting to join in her practice on the mat. She designed poses that help encooperate the dog through lifts and stretches. She’s been running classes in Miami since 2006.
What are the benefits for the owner and dog?
The benefits are the same for dog and owner. As the parasympathetic part of the central nervous system overrides the sympathetic nervous system, both dog and owner will gain a deeper more valuable sleep, release stress, eradicate anxiety and stress related issues, and help digestion and skin disorders. The owner gains a fit body by toning muscles, building core strength, stability, and flexibility. Doga is fun – and through petting your dog, love hormones are released which help you to de-stress.
Do dogs ever misbehave in your doga class?
Dogs ALWAYS misbehave in my class, that’s part of the doga fun. In Doga I try to encourage people to lose their “ownership,” which is the controlling part and the ego. The more we allow and ignore our dogs conditioned behaviour in a group/pack the more your dog can figure out were he belongs in the pack. Showing anxiety doesn’t help your dogs behaviour issues. Through using yoga we focus solely on ourselves while our dogs “act out” their stress. Once the owner has slowed down their central nervous system the dog will automatically be drawn to this inner stillness. It takes sometimes up to fifty minutes for a dog to stop barking or dominating his peers. But at the end of the session ALL dogs are totally out.
How long are doga classes and how much do they cost?
A Doga session consists of ninety minutes breathing, yoga poses, relaxation and chanting. A class costs £20 per dog. One can also bring along family members especially children. It’s a group therapy and focuses on bonding with nature.
A special thanks to Mahny Djahanguiri for telling us all about DOGA. Please leave your questions and comments for her below.