Nowadays, we know that maintaining a regular exercise practice can provide plenty of physical and mental health benefits. With hundreds of different styles, yoga can accommodate your fitness level, meditative, and spiritual goals.
But have you heard of pet-therapy yoga, or what's commonly known as puppy yoga? The concept is simple: you do yoga with puppies. If you're looking to add some playfulness to your practice, consider signing up for a puppy yoga class. These classes provide the physical benefits as traditional yoga classes, but with the added oxytocin, mood-enhancing boost of playful puppies roaming around.
What is Puppy Yoga?
Puppy yoga, also called 'doga', 'dog yoga', or 'doggy yoga', is a yoga class where puppies are present and free to roam and play with participants during your class.
The combination of animals with yoga classes is not a new concept with the rise of goat yoga, alpaca yoga, and even chicken yoga. All of these animal-assisted therapy yoga practices have become an increasingly popular way for people to find new experiences that can promote mental health and overall wellness.
Puppy yoga, in particular, has become increasingly popular over the past few years as a way to provide socialization opportunities for puppies and to help people relax and destress.
What to Expect When Attending a Puppy Yoga
Before attending a yoga class with puppies, you should know a few things. First and foremost, expect the puppies in the class to behave precisely like puppies! This means you should come prepared for nibbles on your fingers, yoga mat, clothing, and yes - potty accidents too! When you sign up for a class, the studio typically provides pup-friendly mats (nobody wants their precious yoga mats to be chewed on - no matter how cute the pup is!), and expect to see plenty of clean-up supplies nearby during your class.
Class sizes are typically small, with only 20-30 participants allowed. This allows for plenty of one-on-one attention from the puppies and helps to prevent overcrowding. In general, there are 6-8 puppies attending these classes with you. Their ages typically range from 8 to 14 weeks old.
Classes typically start with basic rules and an introduction to the puppies before the instructor leads the group through a series of gentle yoga poses suitable for all levels for 45 minutes. You'll typically have an extra half hour at the end of the class to mingle and play with the puppies.
For safety, puppy yoga classes generally have a 'no other dogs allowed' policy. Not all adult dogs can get along with puppies and the classes are used to provide the puppies with positive experiences to help them become well-adjusted adult dogs in the future.
In addition, most participants should assume that puppy yoga classes do not offer puppies for sale. Many of these pet-therapy classes, like our own Puppy and Bubbly class, work with local rescues and reputable breeders who often already have homes lined up for the puppies.
Get an inside peek at what puppy yoga classes are like by checking out our video below:
Benefits of Puppy Yoga
There are quite a few real benefits for yourself and the puppies too when you attend a puppy yoga class.
Puppy yoga helps in the development of a friendly, confident dog
Did you know that the first three months of a puppy's life can drastically shape a puppy's future personality and how it will react to new environments and unknown experiences as an adult dog?
Gentle, safe, and positive introductions to a wide variety of people, places, and situations can be the difference between a well-behaved, confident, relaxed adult dog and a fearful one. Responsible breeders and rescue organizations that work with other companies to provide puppy yoga classes know that these classes make great socialization opportunities.
While stretching in your downward dog, watch as the puppies learn to walk on yoga mats, and hardwood floors, meet people of all ages and ethnicities, and take in the new smells of a new space.
Improve your mental health
Countless studies have shown that:
- regular active movement can stimulate blood flow and minimize stress and
- that the simple act of petting a dog naturally lowers the stress hormone cortisol and boosts the levels of oxytocin
- people feel happier on days they try something new
When you practice puppy yoga, not only do you reap the physical benefits of moving your yoga, but you'll also reap the benefits of the simple joys of being surrounded by and cuddling puppies too.
First-time puppy yoga participants also experience the added benefits of feeling happier. Novel situations activate the same regions of our brain associated with reward, so attending a brand new, never-tried-before experience like puppy yoga can hugely benefit overall mood and happiness.
Where Can You Do Puppy Yoga?
If you love the idea of getting active and playing with cute puppies, try a puppy yoga class in Toronto today! Doggos offers Puppy Yoga and Bubbly class every other weekend in downtown Toronto with multiple time slots. Not only can you enjoy an active 45-minute session of yoga with our certified yoga instructors, but you'll also have the chance to play with a group of puppies for 30 minutes while sipping on a glass of mimosa too! How pawfect!