If you’re reading this, it should not come as a surprise that there are benefits to practicing yoga with your pets.
In the world that we live in, our mental health and well-being is being pushed to the brink it seems. We all need an outlet or a safe place to group to be around. What if our healthy, happy space was one we already had . . . and it included our adorable fur babies?
Some of my favorite parts of life (and happiest) are my yoga practice and my animals.
My life consists of two corgis and a bow-tie wearing cat (and a nice human too!). In their own way, my dogs, cat and yoga practice have each saved me and stood by me through my best and worst days.
Both our pets and our yoga practice have the ability to support and love us no matter what the life phase or space we might be in. They have an ability to help in the way we might not even have known we needed in that moment. To me, each of these aspects of our lives help make the world a much better and kinder place.
Read on to learn the science-backed health benefits of spending time with our pets – including the time we spend with them on the mat!
Spending Time + Doing Yoga With Our Pets Supports Our Wellbeing: Here’s the Science Behind It!
It’s proven that pets can help no matter what size or type. Time recently cited that there is scientific evidence that rabbits, fish, dogs, horses, guinea pigs and even crickets among other animals can help our well-being!
All pets help heal our souls, show us acceptance and are the ultimate pal in enjoying the smallest things. Their love is continuous as they show us what support really should look and feel like.
The Mental Health Foundation wrote a great article about how our pets can help our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
The benefits of having pets includes:
- Increasing your movement and physical activity
- Providing companionship and connection
- Reducing our anxiety levels
- Boosts our self-confidence with unconditional love
- Helps us meet new people
- Adds structure to our days with purpose and a sense of achievement
The Benefits of Practicing Yoga With Your Pets
Now, let’s consider all the remarkable qualities we learn from yoga and the deep connection within. The ability to be still, happy and transform within the unity of our own selves and soul.
Yoga helps not only your physical, but mental and spiritual strength, inner awareness, flexibility and balance as it inhibits the strong ability to help bring you to peace in the present moment.
Taking even just a few moments to dive into these aspects of our lives, how can we not connect our yoga with our canines and fellow companion’s worlds?
The qualities of acceptance, selfless service, self-compassion, unity, peace and love encompass both of these wonderful parts of our lives.
Looking for ways to incorporate and blend our yoga and our pets? Let’s get down, dog! Read on for three easy ways to practice yoga with your pet.
Here Are 3 Ways to Connect + Practice Yoga With Your Pet:
1. Meditate With Your Pet
When was the last time you spiced up your mediation practice? Meditation is loosely defined as the state of the mind when you are in union, or when you are able to ‘still’ the fluctuations of the mind. What would it look like to be ‘still’ with your pet?
If you were able to find your union and stillness with your best friend, how much better would those still moments be? The beautiful thing about mediation is that it doesn’t have a limit or need a certain amount of time to always be useful.
Sometimes we think that if we can’t dedicate a full thirty minutes or more, we won’t reap the benefits of mediation. While that’s a wonderful concept, it’s not always a reality, but spending as little as two-five minutes of stillness could be!
This week’s challenge is to find moments of stillness with your furry (or non furry) companion. Try to bring them into your space (or go and join theirs!) Hug them, smile with them, be with them, and let your union of stillness be filled with ultimate love.
2. Practice Yoga Poses With Your Pet
I’ve always believed that yoga poses or asanas were much more than physical exercises or movements. To me, these are spaces of transformation and growth. Whether it’s moving through a vinyasa with your breath or finding power in holding asanas a little deeper.
In 2015, a concept called DOGA was made popular in the UK by the Swiss-British yoga teacher Mahny Djahanguiri. She wrote in her book Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog, that “Of course dogs don’t actually do yoga. Doga has very little to do with perfection. It brings laughter and joy to people’s hearts.”
This beautiful idea encouraged us to incorporate our pets and have a little fun while we were doing it without the need to be taken too seriously – and sometimes in life we all need a good laugh!
Adding your pet into your yoga practice helps you become a team.
It might not always go as planned or look like you envisioned, but it’s guaranteed fun together! Why not let your yoga transformation be with your best friend? Laugh, cry, grow, move, hold, smile – all aspects we might feel in our asanas, so let them be with your furry companion!
Adding our pets into our practice adds an aspect of humbleness, learning to not take yourself or the need of perfect postures as seriously and just be in the moment. Maybe even let them help dictate where and what direction your flow goes!
Leave your expectations at the door and have fun moving with your friend. You might even be surprised how creative of a flow you both create together!
3. Deepen Your Connection With Your Pet
The last concept I want to share is the idea of connection.
Yoga helps us cultivate mindfulness, both on and off the mat. It helps us build awareness and deeper connections, beyond the physical experience. Why not incorporate that deep level of connection with our pets?
If you can, take your pet outside and be connected. If you don’t have a pet that can go outside, go to pets that are already outside! Horses have an incredible energy that can heal and understand you in a very unique way.
Equine Wellness Magazine speaks about a horse’s “sixth sense” that helps them decipher a human’s moods and deeply connect to our energy. Have you ever wondered why if you’re afraid of the horse, the horse is afraid of you? It’s because they feel that energy!
When we connect with our pets through yoga, we’re helping to balance ourselves and the world around us.
No matter what pet you have, let yourselves ground or “earth” together. Earthing allows you to directly connect with the Earth and use its natural electric charges to stabilize yourself. Sometimes we forget that being human means being a part of nature at a certain level.
Leave your phone, step away from the world and find an afternoon to escape. Maybe in your exploration, you’ll find a new location or unexpected adventure. Let yourself and your pet be one with nature. It’s amazing what we are able to feel when we agree to let our barriers or guards down. Just be in the moment!
Enjoy the Benefits of Practicing Yoga With Your Pets
Take a few moments today and remind yourself about all the remarkable qualities we learn from pets, yoga and ourselves. Heal your soul and hug your dog, cat, horse, rabbit, cricket or any other pet!
Let yourself live in the moment of yogi blissfulness and open your practice up to your furry partner in crime. They are here to inspire unity, show acceptance and offer beautiful selfless love, just like the extraordinary practice of yoga.
Remember, our pets are our wonderful companions, let them into your practice and watch your connection of mind, body and magnificent animal spirit soar!
Time To Play! Unroll Your Mat and Grab Your Fur Baby For This Fun Flow
This unique Fluid Strength class led by YA Classes teacher Ryan Trificana incorporates plyometrics and animal movement patterns to diversify your strength training. Your pets will love how low to the ground you’ll be for much of this class.
Pet lovers, we want to hear from you! Tell us how you have tried practicing yoga with your pets and how it helps you. Please share with us in the comments below – we love hearing from you!