Doga started in the US, when a growing group of health-conscious dog owners wanted a way of combining yoga with spending quality time with their pets.
Now 'Doga' - yoga with dogs - is growing in popularity in the UK, mainly thanks to the efforts of Swiss-born yoga teacher Mahny Djahanguiri.
Watch this BBC video clip and answer the questions below.
The activity is suitable to intermediate students.
1What's Mahny Djahanguir's therapeutic background?
2 How did she start doga?
3 How do doga and yoga differ?
4 How does Mahny know what's beneficial for the dog?
5 How popular is doga these days?
6 With what mental condition does doga work really well?
I’m Mahny Djahanguir and I’m a yoga teacher. I teach yoga not just for humans but yoga for humans and dogs together. And I come from a therapeutic background, of working many, many years in yoga and yoga therapy with children.
I saw people doing yoga on the beach and there were dogs running around freely and I thought, there must be some way of actually doing, combining the traditional yoga with the humans and the dogs together, that the dog can benefit from yoga. It just looked so pure and surreal, just exactly what I wanted to do. It just dawned on me I had to do something about this.
What I started with, I always started with was the breathing and the chanting and yaoming. It works because it centers the person and it centers everything around you. I changed a little bit because I’ve noticed some doga practitioners and yoga practitioners, owners expect a little bit of movement from the dog as well, so I started to play around a little bit in between doing poses where they can lift their dog up or do a special little extension where the dog extends out, you know, or an upside inversion because the owner does wanna feel that they’re also doing the yoga for the dog.
I don’t have disclaimers at this point but I want it think that I have almost like a mental disclaimer with the owner where I trust them that they know what’s best for the dog.
I think it’s a good exercise… see my little crazy poppy.
I find this cross very happy for poppy.
The poses in itself is just cool, yeah, if you can be the warrior and lift them up, great. If you can’t, just reach out or just do the pose and let your dog sit there or observe you from the side. There’s so many differences in every dog, not just breed, the personality, what I’m getting to know, and it’s so interesting, just they are little people.
I can see doga being introduced worldwide. I’d love to teach workshops and teach communities and shelters, especially shelters for dogs. Also yoga works really well with autism. I use yoga with my autistic clients, two men, they are blind and autistic and we’ve done yoga. They don’t like to touch, they don’t like to be touched but for some reason they’re fine with the dog.
Doga is fantastic, it’s just going to so many therapeutic avenues, that’s what I see and that’s what I want to see come out of this, this work that really let’s get, let’s get everyone to bond free nature.