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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Doga Yoga

BY ABIGAIL GILMORE

Have you ever wanted to connect with your dog on a deeper level?  One Phoenix wellness studio now offers a way to do just that: practicing doga — yoga with your dog.

Michael Minkus, facility director at Just Breathe Wellness, said doga offers many benefits for both people and their dogs.  “The calming is the biggest thing,” he said.  “Yoga brings a certain peacefulness and energy, and dogs pick up on that.  Dogs are sponges to our emotions.  If we have anxiety, our pets are the same.  So the more calm we are, the more calm our pets are.”

“When I do yoga, my dogs always come [next to me],” Minkus said.  “And we have a resident dog [at the studio] who always does down dog [a yoga position].”

That inspired him to start offering yoga (or doga, as he calls it) classes for people to take with their dogs.  After some research, Minkus discovered that only one other studio in the area was offering that type of class and decided to offer it as well.

The common misconception is that people are forcing their dogs into yoga positions, Minkus said, and that is definitely not the case. “The dogs do yoga because most positions are developed from animals,” he said.  “The classes are really about people spending more time with their dogs.”

Minkus said many people might underestimate their dog and think their dog is too energetic or won’t be able to calm down for class, but he encourages all types of personalities to try out the class.  “We’ve advised our clients to do more yoga at home and let the dog come to you while you are doing it,” he said.  “Let your dog lay under you or next to you — just a place that’s special to you but natural to them.”

Mike Oleskow was hesitant to take his puppy Chloe, but now he regularly attends doga class.  “Chloe is very energetic, so I was pleasantly surprised that I could get her to relax and go through most of the yoga movements with me,” Oleskow said, and was thrilled with the outcome.  “I could get Chloe to feel comfortable with me and also with the other participants and dogs.”

Oleskow said he thinks doga classes have had a positive impact on Chloe and their relationship.  “It has been very good for both of us to spend the time together to build trust, and it’s been very calming for her.  Chloe has become more relaxed as we do more sessions and go through the movements, as she knows what to expect,” he said.  “Her favorite position is the flying angel and she’s really good at it.  Me, not so much, as it involves lifting your dog with your legs.  Luckily, she’s pretty lean!”

Oleskow said, it has been an amazing experience and encourages others to try even if they aren’t particularly good at yoga.

“This isn’t just for a dog that can do yoga, it is for anyone who wants to spend time with their dog doing something they love.”  Minkus said.

Doga classes are offered at Just Breathe Wellness every other Sunday at 4 p.m.  For more information, visit justbreathewellness.com

 

 

 

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