My dog and I just went to a DOGA (rhymes with "yoga") class. Along with 11 other dogs and their humans, we participated in a relaxing hour of massage, stretching and meditation.
The dogs may have gotten the best of it. At one point they got to lie on their backs while we humans massaged their tummies and stretched over them. Everyone of our dogs grinned in dog nirvana.
Some DOGA poses are easier with small dogs. Some are better with larger dogs. The downward-facing dog pose positions your dog underneath you.
The St. Bernard owner in our class had to stay in pose while her dog rolled over on his back and batted at her with his paws. I did just fine with my 10-pound Dachshund, who stared up at me, rolled her eyes and gave me that "what the heck are you doing?" look.
When it came to stretching and bending over your dog to massage the hind legs in long soothing motions, I had to stretch farther and try to figure out how to make the most of those short Dachsie legs.
A half-lotus position cuddles your dog between your legs. Do a sideways stretch from there, and you’ll find yourself nose-to-nose with your adoring canine.
I thoroughly enjoyed the hour, and I am told that yoga is linked with reductions in stress hormones, like cortisol, as well as blood pressure. My dog loved the attention. One of the instructors pulled me aside after class and said "the way your dog looked at you during class brought tears to my eyes."
I left happy and peaceful. My dog slept all the way home.
Bonding with your pet is good for your health. Look for DOGA classes online at local yoga studios, or ask your SPCA to consider offering classes.