While some people might not jump at the chance to breathe deeply amidst a herd of goats, others are embracing the opportunity. Likewise, meditating on horseback may not be your cup of tea, but you can guarantee someone’s out there doing it.

So what is this new trend of pet yoga, and is it here to stay? The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital have the skinny.

Yoga for Everyone

There’s definitely a pet yoga movement, and it’s beneficial to people, pets, and adoptable animals looking for forever homes. Sure, not all pets are happy to leave the home, travel, and stretch out with a group of strangers, but that doesn’t mean strictly indoor cats won’t enjoy a little “mat time” at home with their favorite yogi.

Dogs, on the other hand, are known to dive head first into their owner’s activities. Why would someone leave their well-behaved, socialized pup at home to go practice yoga at a studio, just to return home and exercise their pet? Like other forward-thinking pet owners, you, too, could get into pet yoga!

A Love for All

Central to yoga philosophy is a love for all beings, and animals inspire a great many asanas (poses). Take, for example, cat pose on all four limbs with your back arched. There’s also cow, rabbit, crane, crow, fish, peacock, pigeon, and many others that allow us to channel the simple, strong beauty of animals.

Inner Nature

Pet yoga may be happening in homes, studios, and even animal shelters/rescues, but it’s not necessarily a new idea. However, it’s certainly growing in popularity. Search for a pet yoga class in any major city, and you’re likely to find a couple nearby. If you attend a class, check to make sure you can bring your own pet. Many classes partner with adoption organizations so people can find a new best friend in a centering, contemplative way.

Deep Breaths

While going through the asanas, you may be inspired to pick up the animal closest to you. This is fun, of course, but it also provides a bit of resistance while you’re in the pose (especially a standing pose like warrior). Also, considering how good it feels to pet an animal in general, why not do this while you’re breathing deeply and stretching? Those powerful feelings can really make your day and decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

Other Types of Pet Yoga

Aside from the common mat practice, many yogis and yoginis are finding their way to larger animals. As we mentioned above, goat yoga allows for practitioners to go through a routine while goats roam freely around them. If that’s not your scene, try going through a vinyasa on the back of a horse (similar to paddleboard yoga). You can bet the horse doesn’t stand still the entire time! Deep breaths, indeed!

Live the Life

The health benefits of yoga are well known, but pet yoga encourages an otherwise energetic, unpredictable animal to center. The bond between you can only grow and blossom.

Please let The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital know if you have any questions. We’re always here for you (we just might be on our mats when you call!).