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Practicing Yoga With Pets

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young woman practicing yoga with her dog

Yoga with your pet can be a fun and entertaining way to get your workout in while spending time with your four-legged best pal. Whether you have a canine or feline companion, there are many ways for you both to stay healthy and be active, one downward-facing dog pose at a time.

Pet Yoga

Yoga with pets can be perfect for socializing your dog, working on commands, and being active. Even with your cat, yoga is a wonderful way to work on the bond you two have. Though yoga is an accessible activity that anyone interested should try, there are a few precursors to be aware of before volunteering your pet.

How To Do Yoga With Your Dog

Yoga with your dog, or doga as some have come to call it, has become increasingly popular over the years. With more people becoming interested, more options are now available for dog parents. For instance, some places may offer a virtual, live course you can follow from home. The instructor may have their dog join them, and your dog can as well, but they have the freedom to go about their business if yoga isn’t quite their thing yet.

Other instructors may offer in-person dog yoga. This may be at their yoga studio, your local park, or a nearby beach—somewhere conducive to having many dogs. With some of these face-to-face meetups, instructors may encourage you to let your dog loose in the studio, and they can roam about at their leisure while the class is in session. Others may recommend using this time to practice different commands with your dog. This could be an ideal time for instructions like sit, down, stay, up, backup, or shake. Some yoga classes may even include dog-friendly yoga poses encouraging you and your dog to try your best at these stances.

If yoga with your dog interests you, a great first step is to see if any dog-friendly classes are offered in your area. Don’t forget you can also search online for virtual options. Before taking your pup to an in-person event, it doesn’t hurt to double-check with the instructor if there are any restrictions, such as your dog’s breed, size, age, and energy level.

It’s additionally helpful to consider whether your dog is ready for an in-person meetup. Some dogs may require a bit more training beforehand, while others may get too nervous in large groups. That said, socialization is an implemental part of raising a well-rounded dog, and doggy yoga meetups are a perfect opportunity for more socialization.

What are some yoga poses to do with your dog? You may need to get creative while keeping your pup’s physical limits in mind, but downward dog is a great place to start.

How To Do Yoga With Cats

Our feline friends are naturally curious, so don’t be surprised if your cat is on your yoga mat the second you roll it out. Cats are nimble creatures that already practice yoga poses in their day-to-day activities—you could even take inspiration from them. You may also find that as you try your various yoga poses, your cat is walking underneath you, trying to climb on your lap, or playing with your mat. Instead of attempting to shoo them away, embrace their involvement.

Of course, the art of yoga has a long list of benefits. From improving a person’s balance and helping build muscle to clearing the mind and decreasing stress, there’s a reason yoga is said to be good for the mind, body, and soul.

These perks of yoga can translate to your cat as well. If you are up moving and being active, there’s a chance your cat will follow, and they may be energized to play. Watching you practice different poses and movements you don’t usually do can also provide some mental stimulation and entertainment to your cat. As yoga can help you decrease your stress or anxiety levels, this could also help your cat stay more relaxed since our feline companions are often able to infer whenever we are feeling anxious. Not to mention, whenever you are practicing yoga, this could be an excellent time to spend with your cat, helping strengthen your bond.

When it comes to yoga with cats, poses available that include your cat directly may require a bit more creativity. Keep in mind that not all cats are fans of being held, so your cat’s level of involvement should be judged at your discretion. If you need some assistance on how to get started, try looking for a virtual yoga class that includes pets. Virtual classes can be the perfect option for pets and their parents who would like to be involved with a class but are still interested in practicing from home.

If cat yoga is something that piques your interest, you can also try searching for in-person classes in your area. Though oftentimes people don’t bring their cats into a studio (like some do with dog yoga), there may be fitness instructors that host their class with the local animal shelter or cat rescue. This option may be of particular interest to individuals who aren’t able to adopt yet, but love being around cats or those who are interested in adopting. For many yoga fans, having fun, relaxed interactions with up-for-adoption cats sounds like a much better workout environment than a gym.

cat standing next to pilates equipment

Top Wellness Trends

Although yoga is a terrific option for all types of pets and their parents, there are many more options for physical exercise that still include cats and dogs. Some of these pet wellness trends include:

  • Biking/Rollerblading/Skateboarding
    If your preferred method of exercise includes biking, rollerblading, roller-skating, or skateboarding, consider taking your dog along with you. This could be a perfect option for high-energy dogs that want to run. Of course, you may need to do a few practice runs and refresh some commands to ensure you both are safe. It may also be best to start at a slower pace or in a less trafficked area. As you two learn to work better together, you can begin going faster, further, and into new areas.
  • Hiking
    This can be a fantastic option for anyone, no matter their skill level. Hiking trails can vary from easy, flat, and paved to strenuous, rocky, and steep. This range of options allows you and your dog to stick with the level you are comfortable with, but there’s always room to push yourself if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Depending on where you live, you may be surprised to learn how many hiking trails are near you. Ask fellow dog parents, your hiking friends, or find an online site for searching trails.
  • Running/Jogging
    If you and your pup are looking to add more pep to your step and walking doesn’t seem like enough, taking up running or jogging could be a fun option. With minimal supplies needed, besides some good running shoes and a nice leash or harness for your dog, you can practice this type of exercise practically anywhere. Just remember to keep your dog’s limits in mind and always ensure the weather conditions are safe for both you and your canine companion.
  • Skijoring
    A unique activity that involves you on skis being pulled by your dog, this could be a fantastic way to stay active during the cold, snowy winter months—depending, of course, on where you live. It’s essential first to consider your dog’s physical ability, size, and whether this is an activity they may enjoy. Typically, medium to larger-sized breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, or German Shepherds, to name a few, could love participating in this sport.
  • Swimming
    Whether in a pool, lake, or the ocean, many dogs learn to love swimming. Plus, this is the perfect activity for the hotter months since your dog can stay cool. When introducing your dog to the water, take things slow and reassure them with plenty of praise and treats
  • Camping
    Though not necessarily a form of exercise, camping can involve hiking, walking, swimming, and many other activities. Camping can be an ideal activity for you and your pup to do together as it’s the perfect opportunity to be active, spend time outdoors, socialize your dog, and strengthen the relationship you two have.
  • Pilates/Calisthenics
    Similar to yoga but still unique in their own ways, Pilates and calisthenics are great at-home workout options that your cat could find enjoyable. With a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking, you could also include your cat. Some pet parents have even gotten their little feline best friends their own yoga mat, which they set up every time they get their own out.
  • Sports/Workouts
    When trying to find a way to get your cat or dog to be active, look at your lifestyle and daily activities to see if there is something you’re already doing that could easily include them. For instance, if you play soccer or baseball for fun, try taking your pup to a practice. You could teach them how to retrieve the baseballs or run after the soccer ball with you. If you work out at home and your cat loves being involved, put them on your back when you do pushups or hold them in your arms when doing squats or lunges.

Whether you and your pets take up yoga or another type of exercise, what’s most important is that you are both active and living a healthy lifestyle together. Workouts go far beyond keeping you physically fit, as they can also improve your mental health, emotions, and mood, and they can help lower the chances of developing other health conditions. What could be more fun than having your adorable cat or charismatic dog be your accountability partner?

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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