Downward Dog!

“Doggie and Me” Fitness Classes Invite You to Bring Your Own Downward Facing Dog

It’s no secret that partnering with a reliable workout buddy can be a great way to keep yourself motivated and dedicated to your fitness routine. And your own dog may just be the most loyal and eager fitness pal you’ll ever find.

If you have a dog, it’s hard not to get in at least a quick daily walk. And a furry pal can be the perfect inspiration to get out for a longer or more rigorous run – or even a hike or a swim. Some pups even tag along on surf or stand up paddleboard (SUP) outings.

But did you know that there are fitness classes specifically designed for you and Fido to attend together?

Doga (yoga for you and your dog) classes have been popping up in yoga studios and community centers across the nation. The classes combine massage, meditation, and stretching for both dogs and their human partners. Karen Bryan of Seattle, and creator of the Barking Buddha Doga method, describes her classes as a series of Hatha yoga poses that “bring dogs into the fold.” This could mean draping your legs over a large dog as a sort of bolster, or performing a modified boat pose with your small dog balanced on your belly.

Yoga not your thing? Maybe you’d rather try a bootcamp-style class with your pup instead. This Los Angeles area Bow Wow Workout class integrates dogs into the cardio and strength training workouts of a typical fitness bootcamp. Thank Dog Bootcamp (with locations in San Fransisco, San Diego, Cleveland, and Boston) combines fitness bootcamp for people with obedience training for their dogs.

I have to admit, these classes sound like fun. But I also have to be honest: it’s hard for me to imagine focusing and practicing proper form in a yoga class while trying to also control a dog. Bootcamp sounds to me like it might be a little easier to pull off, but I still see potential for injury due to a distracted practice and resulting improper form. Though, to be fair, I’m sure that depends on the dog in question (mine have always been a bit on the rambunctious side).

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