Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Relax with your Dog

As a yoga teacher who specializes in relaxation techniques I’ve taught Kapalabhati, Viloma, Ujjaiyi, and my favorite Alternate Nostril Breathing (which will help you survive many crises).

As a dog lover I know dogs are great relaxation aids and enrich body, mind, and spirit:

  • Walk a dog to get your body moving
  • Sit and pet a dog to calm you
  • Play with a dog to create joy
Here are instructions for a Dog Petting Breathing Technique

  • ·       Find a quiet comfortable spot
  • ·       Place hand on dog’s head
  • ·       Inhale
  • ·       Begin to Exhale
  • ·       Slowly move your hand down the dog’s neck and back while silently  counting to three
  • ·       When you reach the end of the dog begin the inhale
  • ·       Repeat

It may take a few breaths to settle the dog and to find your pace. Breathe in with the inhale and out with the exhale. Begin to lengthen both the exhale and the inhale to at least a count of three for each. Let your belly move with your breath. Close your eyes if you wish. Continue as long as necessary.

Your dog will enjoy these breathing practice timeouts as much as treats.


Adapting for the size of the dog - Breathing with a Chihuahua will differ from breathing with a Great Dane. For tiny dogs the movement has to be very, very slow. Or alternatively experiment with more than one petting movement on the exhale. Exceptionally large dogs may take more than one breath to complete the journey. 

No dog? Borrow one or use this practice with cats, horses, and other warm blooded pets (or a human friend.). 

Enjoy and Keep Petting!