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'Downward dog' takes on a whole different meaning at local yoga class

'It’s another way to enjoy yoga,' says Courtney McCarthy, owner and founder of Guelph's Loyobo Fit

Dogs and yoga: If you love both, there is a way to bring them together. 

Loyobo Fit in Guelph recently hosted a ‘Bring Your Own Dog Yoga’ class which invited dog owners to bring their furry friends along to the studio to enjoy a relaxing yoga class together. 

Dogs, big and small filled the studio space as their owners prepared their mats for class. 

“It’s another way to enjoy yoga,” says Courtney McCarthy, owner and founder of Loyobo Fit. 

“And it helps with self confidence as well especially for those who haven’t done yoga for awhile or might feel uncomfortable. This is a fun way to bring them to class.”

Some dogs were eager to meet, play and run around during the class while others were timid, and preferred to stay close to their owners. 

The class was open to all fitness levels and no previous yoga experience was required. 

“It’s about being playful and having fun,” says yoga instructor Kirstie Griffiths. 

“I’ve done this with cats previously and that too was so much fun. People come to these classes and they love it. There are barriers as to what some might see as traditional yoga, so these classes break down all of these barriers.”

Loyobo Fit is all about inclusivity. 

According to Loyobo Fit, that there is no one-size-fits-all path to health and fitness. There is no perfect body archetype that it aims to follow. The gym focuses on body positivity and helping use fitness as a foundation for loving one’s body.

And what better way to bring in that positive energy, than being able to bring along your beloved canine companion?

But bringing a dog to yoga, isn’t just about perfect postures. It’s also about bonding and relaxing with a dog in an intimate and rewarding way. 

It can help build trust, enhance the natural bond, reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep and lower blood pressure. 

The class offers the opportunity for owners and their dogs to settle into a space, to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Yoga postures and sequences allow for connection and bonding.  

But some dogs could not help their curiosity as they wandered off leash to meet and play with their other furry friends. 

For Griffiths, that’s all part of the experience. 

“It’s about being in a comfortable space. Life can be so unpredictable and there are lots of things in our environment that we can’t change and are distracting, and this helps us find balance,” Griffiths said. 

If dogs didn’t cooperate, it wasn’t a worry. Participants were encouraged to come to the mat with an open mind and a sense of humor.

Also referred to as ‘Doga’, the practice focuses on the natural symbiotic relationship that already exists between owners and their dogs and helps reduce the stress that they can reflect on each other. 

But bringing your dog to yoga also encourages dogs to be more comfortable around other dogs. 

Any breed or size dog can participate.

It is a practice that is more about creating a connection between dog and owner and being able to slow down together.

And for Loyobo Fit, it’s all about having fun and trying something new. 

Bring your Own DogYoga’ continues to be a popular choice.

“There was a person who came to the Kitty Cat Yoga class, and she just loved it. She said she felt so comfortable, no barriers,” 

“And bringing your dog to yoga, it’s a class where we can take these tools and use them to practice paying attention and to help us relax with our dogs,” Griffiths said. 

For more information visit Loyobo Fit at www.loyobofit.com.



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