Recently I've been working with my five year old Siberian husky on his power yoga, as he tends to get a little, well, husky in the winter. With spring upon us, there's no better time to stretch and lengthen, so today I've got some tips to ensure proper alignment for your dog in one of the most popular poses.
Downward dog is something most dogs do naturally, which means that the pose is suitable for all. Keep your voice smooth and calm to encourage them to really push the mat away with their paws for long armpits. This not only gives a great stretch in the front body, but also strengthens their front legs and shoulders.
Proper yoga breathing is also important in dog yoga. When your pup is in downward facing dog pose, breathe slowly with him or her to encourage full, deep breaths. While I don't recommend doing this with humans, some dogs breathe more fully when you maintain eye contact.
Unlike humans, dogs are generally pretty good about staying in the moment, so there's no need to remind them to let go of the memory of the squirrel they chased earlier, or the sloppy kisses they gave you that morning. Chances are your dog has forgotten them already and is in a nice meditative yoga state.
You can repeat this pose as many times as you like, but always end the dog yoga session with a nice savasana for around two minutes (or as long as they can lay still). Our dogs are members of our families, so we've got to treat them right!
PS- Happy April Fool's! While dog yoga is a real thing, focusing on proper breathing and alignment is probably best left to the dog. This picture was taken when my dog was practicing his latest command (bow). More pics of him on instagram (#crazydoglady).