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Yoga going to the dogs

AP, via CNN, USA
Apr. 3, 2007
www.cnn.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday April 4, 2007

BELLEVUE, Washington (AP) — By the end of a recent yoga class, many participants were passed out on their mats, in a position their instructor calls the “upward facing belly pose.”

That’s largely because about half the group was about to walk out on four legs: The Seattle/King County Humane Society in Washington now offers 40 minute classes of “doggie yoga.”

Brenda Bryan, who teaches human yoga as well as the new class for both dogs and humans, says the dogs react to the gentle energy in the room.

“As we get into it, the dogs all kind of calm down,” said Bryan, who developed the poses for the class by working with her own two dogs — Gus, a mixed breed, and Honey, a shar pei-boxer mix — and talking to instructors in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where yoga for dogs and their owners is starting to catch on.

The question she and the Humane Society get the most from prospective human students is how do the people and dogs interact?

In Bryan’s class, the humans do traditional yoga poses — yes, including “downward facing dog” — while staying in contact physically with their pets.

Part of the class includes gentle stretching and dog massage, another specialty of Bryan’s, but most of the time the humans gently use the dogs like yoga props.

In downward facing dog, for example, the humans rest their heads on their companions, who are relaxing — napping? — on the mat.

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