If you find every other yoga class awkward and alienating, doga could be just the thing. Ohm. Ohhhhm. Ohhhmmygod, is that wee on the floor?
A Belgian shepherd has got snappy with a chow chow, chasing it between the mats. Ten other dogs erupt, like schoolboys egging on a punchup. Things cannot be going to plan, if there even is a plan. The teacher gamely attempts to continue, but I can’t hear what she’s saying. Taking advantage of the mayhem, a bichon frise is truffling in everyone’s bags, looking for rawhide twists. I should explain: I’m in a dog yoga class. Maybe that makes things more confusing.
Doga is a system of balancing dogs on the body while in yoga poses. (“If you have a larger dog, use him as a bolster,” says the instructor.) On paper, it is an idea so nauseating it would make Anthea Turner want to declare a fatwa. Designed to nurture a dog’s sacred bond with its owner, it came from California; hard to believe. According to our teacher, doga pioneer Mahny Djahanguiri, it’s particularly good for rescues. An owner practising slow and sustained breathing will calm down an anxious animal, whose parasympathetic nervous system will respond in kind. This does sound plausible. Someone should tell the dogs.