Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about puppy yoga
In the next instalment of her fortnightly column, our dedicated wellness warrior Hannah Bullimore shares the reality of working out in a room full of adorable pups…
By Hannah Bullimore
Many years ago, Yoga Girl (aka Rachel Brathen), began posting her yoga practice with her goat and dogs.
The little goat would scamper onto her back during down dog, a puppy would settle into the space between her legs in cobbler pose and, finally, they would all join her for a well-earned savasana.
Over the years, many of us regular yogis have probably been joined by a four-legged friend or two. As a dog mama to a one-year-old Lab, I’ve found that sometimes my Ted will settle at the end of the mat and, sometimes, try to topple me from every posture I attempt.
But what about a room full of puppies?
This past weekend, I joined High Life North editor, Laura, and experienced the puppy yoga craze for myself.
At one of our favourite yoga studios, Yoga Therapies, there was a relaxing yoga class with Lucy and a basket of extremely cute French Bulldog puppies. Facilitated by the guys at Puppy Yoga Newcastle, the class was broken into three sections: play time with the puppies, yoga and then more cuddles with the pups!
We began by spending time getting to know the lil doggos. The room was set up so that the mats circled the yoga teacher, allowing the puppies to roam free and enjoy a range of toys. There were puppy pads for little accidents, plenty of water and two of the owners of Puppy Yoga Newcastle, Elise and Matthew, were on hand at all times to ensure the puppies were happy throughout.
The business was set up as part of a business module by four students studying Psychology at the University of Liverpool. They had spent time studying the positive effects of animal interactions on mental health and wellbeing as well as the physical effects of yoga. Since then, they’ve expanded into new cities, with the first classes in Newcastle last weekend.
For any animal lovers, the one concern with something like this will always be the welfare of the puppies. It was clear to see the pups were enjoying roaming around such a large space, to cuddle and play when they wanted but also the freedom to take a time out (or a nap) whenever they grew sleepy.
Elise said: “The puppies also benefit from the classes as they have a chance to develop their socialisation skills with people of all ages before they go to their forever homes.”
Lucy also did a great job of incorporating the dogs into the class, referencing the new excitement of a puppy learning everything for the first time and how this mindset can help us in our yoga practice.
She also made it feel totally acceptable to sit and enjoy the cuddles, taking a break from the yoga, if you were blessed by a visit from one of the little guys.
It was such a fun and unique experience that welcomed all level of yogis to share in the love of the nation’s favourite pet. It was lovely to see these tiny puppies socialising and enjoying lots of attention, affection and great care from the team at the studio and at Puppy Yoga Newcastle.
We also all left with a polaroid photo holding one of our new friends which was a lovely, very Instagram-friendly, touch.
For anyone who loves dogs and has never been to yoga, you will be warmly welcomed to the studio and this is a great, fun way to try yoga for the first time.
More classes are on the way so keep an eye on their Instagram to grab yourself a space on the next puppy yoga class. And yes, they will notice if you try to sneak a puppy up your jumper – believe me, I tried!
Sunday 16th April, 12.30pmBOOK NOW
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