EVERYONE who has practiced yoga has heard of the downward dog – but has your dog?
Six posed pooches were ready to improve their posture this weekend at the county’s first ever Doga-flow retreat.
Five owners and their pets were the first to take up the new fitness fad, run by Caroline Griffith founder of dog training company Canine Flow.
The retreat, held Saturday to Sunday at The Manor Country House Hotel, Weston on the Green near Bicester, promised to help better connect owners and their dogs by utilising yoga practices.
Ms Griffith, from Cyprus, said: “It is about introducing owners to enable all eight parts of yoga to help transform your dogs behaviour – without necessarily having to do traditional dog training.”
The eight parts of yoga include postures, self-reflection, breathing, expression, living in the moment, focus, meditation and enlightenment.
Ms Griffith added: “It is about being connected with your dog, heart to heart, and understanding them more.
“We have been doing postures, meditation and self-reflection. For example flexibility of humans is the same for dogs, the more tension they feel the more stressed they will be.
“One exercise we’ve done is sniff reflection, encouraging people to go on a sniff rather than a walk.
“Really let the dogs take time to sniff everything, for them it is very grounding that emotional energy.”
The retreat included traditional yoga techniques such as working on owners breathing and postures, both humans and dogs, and how they can help each other.
One participant Judy Robinson, who travelled five hours from Lancashire for the retreat, took part with her working cocker spaniels.
The five-year-old twins have separation anxiety and for Ms Robinson, who is interested in yoga and tai chi herself, hoped the retreat may help.
She said: “They[the dogs] are both so fast, so I wanted something to help slow down their energy.
“They both are also very anxious, so it has been good for their relaxation and for me to work on the energy I give out and how they focus.”
Ms Robinson showed one technique she had learned of using her own breathing and calmness to settle one of her dogs when they were barking, placing a hand on their heart.
Ms Griffith added: “Dogs are very emotional beings, and for a long time training has always been about the mind. But really 70 to 80 percent of it is about working on yourself and the dog will follow.
For more details of Doga-flow see online at thespiritualdogtrainer.com