Puppy yoga: What it is, pet poses and the benefits of puppy love

A woman bends over in the downward dog position with her dog seated underneath her and gives it a kiss on the head.

Humans might have been the first to introduce the formal practice of yoga to the world, but our pups have been performing the foundational poses since the dawn of time.

Just take a look at your pooch during their morning stretch.

Legs perfectly straight, buns up in the air, and arms stretched out before them like they’re not even trying.

After all, the gurus didn’t call it the downward dog for nothing.

So, it should come as no surprise then that the latest yoga craze involves the adorable little pups.

Yup, you heard that correctly, puppies!

The delightful style of yoga is melting the hearts of yogis, with many jumping at the opportunity to share their mat with a fluffy friend in a puppy yoga class.

But that’s not all.

Whether you’re looking for a way to bond with your four-legged friend or are just plain puppy obsessed, we’ll be sharing the power of pet yoga and a few easy dog-friendly poses you can try at home!

What is Puppy yoga?

If you’re imagining a bunch of puppies plonking on their backs for a scratch or licking your nose mid bridge pose, then you’re exactly right.

A more playful spin-off of Dog yoga or Doga, puppy yoga classes typically involve young dogs roaming about or joining in on a few easy poses like Savasana, or maybe even puppy pose!

 

How does Puppy yoga work?

Puppy or Dog yoga is far more relaxed and fun than traditional yoga practice.

In a puppy yoga class, you’ll perform several basic asanas and allow the animals to either join in or wrestle each other on the sidelines.

Practising a few basic asanas with a fluffy shadow in toe is an all-natural endorphin booster that’ll have you beaming with joy for the rest of the day.

And while it might seem like just another wellness fad, Puppy yoga has many health benefits for both humans and their canine companions.

What are the benefits of Puppy yoga?

Although we don’t need an excuse to play with puppies all day, the fact that it’s beneficial for our health is a good reason to start.

Whether stretching beside your dog in the morning or letting them cuddle up to you in Savasana, pet yoga is known to reduce stress, bolster health and build unbreakable bonds with our furry friends.

1. Improves mental health

Research confirms that practising yoga daily can have a positive impact on our mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and even symptoms of depression.

Now throw a puppy in the works, and you’ve got an even better practice – it’s simple maths.

With a puppy to motivate you, make you feel more at ease and give you the occasional giggle, you’ll feel like a million bucks after just a few minutes.

That’s the power of puppy love!

2. Lowers blood pressure

Just like yoga, practising Doga can have a powerful impact on our physical health.

Combining daily exercise with the boost of endorphins we get from playing with pets helps calm an overstimulated mind and reduce high blood pressure.

 

3. Soothes hyperactivity

While a terrific way to boost our mental and physical health, puppy yoga classes are just as beneficial for our scruffy friends.

Although it might not be as stimulating as a walk in the park, regular yoga sessions can help relax hyperactive and anxious dogs.

Performing a few simple poses will burn some of their energy while the gentle stretches and massages will calm their busy minds and bodies.

Many pups even doze off during a session from the sheer relaxation.

4. Teaches trust

Pet yoga is also a fantastic way to strengthen a bond and build trust with an animal!

As dog yoga classes are usually performed with your pet, it teaches you how to work with your fluffy friend and complete poses as a unit.

You’ll flow from one asana to the next, using only verbal prompts and the occasional treat to guide your pet.

This fun activity will build trust with your puppy partner and reveal how rewarding working together can be, especially if dog biscuits are involved!

Easy yoga poses to try with your pup

If you’re itching to get on the mat with your pup, there are a few simple poses that are perfect for beginner dogas.

Practising yoga with your pet is always challenging at first, so if they don’t catch on immediately, don’t worry. 

Just be patient, try to let go, and most importantly, remember to have fun!

So, grab a handful of treats, get comfortable on your mat and give these puppy-friendly yoga poses a try. 

1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

A woman sits in the easy pose on a yoga mat in her home with her hand stroking her dog that’s lying down next to her.

Invite your dog to join you on the mat and gently stroke the back of their head, encouraging them to sit down and relax.

With your pup calm and comfortable, settle into a cross-legged pose next to them.

Sync your breath with each stroke as you lengthen your spine and feel the tension in your back release.

2. Utkatasana (Chair Pose) 

A woman sits on a yoga mat in thunderbolt pose with her hands in front of her holding her dog on its hind legs in the chair pose.

This pose is a great one for smaller dogs that love to jump on their hind legs.

Sit in a thunderbolt or diamond pose (Vajrasana) with your dog seated in front of you.

Scratch their back or head until they are relaxed and jelly in your hands.

Then, gently lift their front legs into the air so that they are balancing on their hind legs.

You can try this asana a few times, inhaling and exhaling with each movement.

3. Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Pose)

A woman kneels on a yoga mat and extends her arms forward in the puppy pose to rest her hands over her dog's paws.

Although a bit more advanced, you can’t practise Dog yoga without performing the puppy pose!

Canines are very intelligent and will often mimic or shadow your behaviour during a session.

This is also an ideal pose to practise basic commands like sit, lie down, or roll over with food-lure training.

But if your dog isn’t quite catching on, simply performing this asana with them by your side or sprawled over on their back will elevate your practice.

With your dog seated in front of you, extend your arms out and gently rest your hands over their paws.

Breathe here, trying to sync your rhythm with your canine until you are both calm and completely relaxed.

4. Uttanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

A woman sits with legs straight out on a yoga mat in the seated forward bend position with her hand stroking her dog that is resting on her legs.

In staff pose, allow your pup to lie on your thighs or just above the ankles to anchor your legs to the ground.

Take a deep breath in and raise the arms overhead.

On exhale, fold forward and place your hands on your fluffy friend’s head.

If you begin to feel some discomfort, give them a scratch to take your mind off the pain and relax into the stretch.

5. Vrksansana (Tree Pose)

A woman stands in the tree pose with one leg resting on the inside of her thigh and her dog in her arms.

If you’re looking for an easy asana your dog can join in on, try tree pose!

In mountain pose, pick up your pup and rest them against your chest.

Inhale and slowly bring your right foot to your outer knee.

Hold and take a few deep breaths here.

This is a soothing pose for both you and your dog, and it’s also a great way to improve your balance and focus.

6. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

A woman lies flat on her back in the corpse pose with her dog resting beside her.

A puppy yoga class usually involves restorative asanas on the mat like Savasana.

Lie flat on your back and either allow your canine to come to you or call them over for a scratch.

As they begin to relax next to you, slowly become aware of your breath and the various sensations in your body.

If you have a hyperactive or anxious dog, this pose will make them feel safe and calm as they’ll be able to sense your mood.

Spend a few minutes here and acknowledge the time you’ve taken to bond and simply be with your pet.

While Dog or Puppy yoga is a great way to bolster your health and relationship with your pet, there are many other types of yoga teeming with benefits for both you and your pooch.

Whether booking a walking retreat in the wild British countryside or a hiking and trekking holiday in Europe, Basubu offers ample opportunities to deepen your practice while bonding with your pet.

Start an unforgettable journey today with Basubu.