Check out these five animal yoga trends that have humans and their furry friends doing asana side by side for mutual benefit.
Many yoga poses are named after animals. Although animals may have been the inspiration for many of the asana and vinyasa sequences in yoga, many people around the world are seeking to reconnect with their animal friends by taking yoga classes with them.
Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to positively help the treatment of children, adults, and seniors needing physical and psychological support. Fans of animal yoga say that practicing with (or even on!) their four legged pets give them the same benefits.
But even though people get benefits from being around animals, those who have hosted animal yoga classes and retreats say that even the animals enjoy being around humans practicing yoga. While many have done it for the novelty of bringing their pets to work, or practicing asana and meditation on a farm, others have brought the trend a step further by using it to raise awareness for cats and dogs in need of forever homes.
In all cases, it is made clear to participants that the animals in the class, or brought to the class, are never forced into doing any asana themselves, and are never forced into doing any unnatural movements.
If you’re an animal and yoga lover, check out these animal yoga classes that everyone has been talking about.
1. Goat Yoga
Goat yoga is all the rage in the animal yoga trend. It was started by Lainey Morsey on her farm in Willamette Valley, Oregon named No Regrets. When her first goat yoga class was fully booked and the demand for more started pouring in, she couldn’t have imagined that Goat Yoga would become the international sensation it has become.
2. Horse Yoga
Another farm animal that yoga enthusiast seem to love interacting with are horses. Just pop onto Instagram and you’ll find hundreds of yoga selfies of asana being performed on the back of a horse rather than on a mat! The practice has actually been around for years already but has been reserved for luxury retreats or for yoga practitioners who already work with horses on a regular basis.
3. Bunny Yoga
The owners of Sunberry Fitness in British Columbia, Canada said that the idea for bringing rabbits into a yoga class was first proposed as a joke. But they thought, why not? And held their first Bunny Yoga class in January 2016. During the class, bunnies that were provided by Bandaids for Bunnies were free to roam and settle on the mat of their choice. Reportedly, one woman could not do any asana anymore because five bunnies decided that she was their favourite yogini.
Doga is the practice of, what else, dogs and yoga together. While some Doga classes will have owners very gently guiding their pets into some simple poses, nothing is ever forced upon the dogs. And if their furry companions simply want to lay on the mat, or be carried, while the strange humans make weird poses around them, that is accepted too!
5. Cat Yoga
The internet loves cats, and so do many yoga practitioners! Many cat rescue shelters have taken notice of the popularity in animal yoga classes and thought it would be a great way to not only have their kittens interact with humans, but also to entice humans to come into shelters to adopt one of the yoga-friendly felines.
Bringing humans and animals together in yoga seems like a magical and therapeutic experience that true animal and yoga lovers would appreciate.