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Dog Yoga

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2009

Practicing yoga is a great way to clear your head. If you would like to start including your dog in your yoga practice, these poses, courtesy of Kari Harendorf from East Yoga, are great ways to get started.

Warrior 1
Begin by standing with your right leg forward and left leg back and bent. Lift dog up in the air, holding the dog under its front legs. Resting the back legs of your dog on your chest, gently massage his or her chest.

Warrior 1 benefits you by opening the hips, increasing strength in the arms and back, increasing endurance in the legs, and opening the flow of energy in the body. This pose benefits your dog by increasing circulation, and of course, the added plus of more time spent with you.

Warrior 2
Begin by standing in the same position as in Warrior 1. Bring your dog toward your chest and hold. This will benefit you and your dog in the same ways the warrior 1 pose does.

Triangle Pose
Begin by standing with your right leg forward (straight) and left leg back (bent). Slide right hand down your leg to shin. Hold your pet like a football on your left ribcage with your dog's face near your left armpit. Look up to the ceiling (your dog will likely lick your face).

This pose benefits you by helping with reproductive issues and opening the hips. This pose also gives your dog more extension.

Standing Forward Bend
Begin by standing with your legs hip-width apart. Bend over and touch the floor. Then, pick up your dog and rest him or her on the back of your neck, stomach side down. The weight from your dog will help increase your stretch by bringing you farther into the bend. If your dog is too heavy or uncomfortable, simply place him or her on the floor and try resting your head on your dog.

The standing forward bend benefits you by opening the hamstrings and back, while giving your dog a gentle massage to the belly.

Happy Puppy
Lying on your back with knees bent and legs in the air, grab the outside of your feet and put your heals together. Place your dog on the bottom of your feet on his or her belly. Then, move your legs over your face like the dog is flying, and end with your knees bent and your dog on your chest.

The happy puppy pose benefits you by opening up the legs and massaging the spine against the floor. This pose benefits your dog by helping with digestion and blood flow -- plus, the dog gets to fly!

Bridge Pose
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and hip-width apart. Bring your hips up in air and rest your dog on your chest, facing you. Hold the pose.

The bridge pose benefits you by placing you in an inverted position, allowing your heart to rest and bring blood back toward the heart. This pose benefits your dog by sending blood back to his or her heart as well.

Resources
Special thanks to Kari Harendorf and her dog, from the Bideawee animal shelter, for demonstrating these poses. For more information, visit eastyoga.com. Get more ideas for your animals with television's top tips for pet owners.