Saturday, March 22, 2014

Doga Pose Number 2: Wide-Legged
Seated Forward Fold with Fido

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
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Stretching, Stetching, Ahhhhh!
Oliver and I have been busy working on our Yoga practice, and we're beginning to notice a few improvements in my form as well as in his comfort level with joining me. He likes that I'm on the floor with him, but took a while to be sure it was all just for fun, realizing that he could join me on the mat. I'm also finding that Jess's comments often ring true. For example, Oliver's mood does change from day to day. Very intuitive advice that you can use to adapt your approach.

As Jess told us last week in our introductory Easy Seated Pose, the Yoga mat is a happy place, but it does sometimes take our dogs a while to feel that. Keep in mind that your dog will read your relaxation, or lack of it. It you're practicing Doga with a relaxed mind--allowing it to happen without working too hard or stressing over your progress--Fido will absorb that positive energy and be much more willing to come along for the journey. Try it and give him a chance.

I would advise you to have a blanket for elevating your "sitting bones", as this basic tool will make the pose infinitely more comfortable. Yoga blocks can also help to ease the stretch if you find the hamstrings are yelling at you. Remember to set up your laptop such that you can reach it to start and stop as needed. It does help to be able to move through the pose at your own pace. 

Now that we're on the road to creating a Doga routine that helps us bond with our dogs, many of us may wish to work on our actual Yoga knowledge as well. I'm no expert yet, but I've done a little research on the benefits of Yoga, and would like to share one of these advantages with you each week. Thanks to Yoga Journal for publishing this terrific list of 38 ways Yoga keeps you fit. Here goes:

"Flex Time: Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That's no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alighment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture."
We look forward to seeing you again next week as we move along into post number 3 of
the warm up. Each week's poses will become a tweak more challenging, yet Jess will continue to offer beginner and intermediate ways to practice them. As you practice, don't forget that you'll need to stay well hydrated. You can enter to win one of 5 water bottles from All Things Dog Blog at the giveaway we're offering here. Good luck; see you next week!

I'm still watching for your suggestions on adapting to each of our various types of dogs--willing and not so much. Let us know how this is going for you, as well as any strategies that are working. Thanks for your feedback. Let's see if we can get a little bit more by promoting this series to our fellow Twitter users:
Here's a link to last week's introductory pose. Watch for a list to develop as we continue to build on this series:

Pose #1: Easy Seated Pose to Enjoy Dog Massage
Namaste,






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If you're new to Doga or Yoga, please be sure to do these three things: (1) Get your doctor's permission to start a yoga workout, (2) Check with your vet to make sure your dog is able to participate in simple Doga exercises safely, and (3) visit our introductory post where I've outlined a few tips that will help your experience go more smoothly and enjoyable. Keep in mind that you can always stop if a pose is uncomfortable, returning to a relaxing pose.

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