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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dog yoga takes Taiwan by storm

TAIPEI : Call it a yogic twist, as canines in Taipei join their owners to stretch, crouch and twist themselves into a knot.

Like their human owners, dogs are also finding peace and calm in yoga.

Yoga has always been popular in Taiwan, and for those who want the same benefits of yoga for their dogs, "doga" courses are available.

"Doga" or dog yoga is established in the US and Japan.

But it was not until two years ago that the yoga instructor Elsa Yang brought this brand new exercise in Taiwan.

And that's thanks to her schnauzer.

"She'd (schnauzer) come to me whenever I lay down the mat. She would also follow my poses. I tried pushing her away but she kept coming. So I thought of including her," said Yang, a yoga instructor.

Yang said the doga postures are all modifications of key human yoga postures.

During doga, owners begin with massaging their dogs and gently stretching them into positions.

Aside from exercising, canines and their human partners can spend quality time together during the doga session.

"You become a family after building up relationship. So you won't abandon them," said Yang.

Eva Huang Yu Chung has been attending doga classes for 18 months.

Though she said her 10-pound dachshund has helped deepen her stretches with its weight, she enjoys the bonding even more.

"If I want to fetch something, she'll get up before I do. It's like she knows what I want. Words can't describe the bond," said Huang, a doga practitioner.

And the one-hour doga sessions do not start until a 10-minute "happy hour" is completed.

Yin Ting, a doga practitioner said: "He (pet dog) got to know many dog friends. He used to be intimidated by humans, but not anymore. This has also helped our relationship."

That looks like proof that the bonding is good for both human and canine. - CNA /ls


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