|This is my Dog in Heaven pose|
(AFP) Hong Kong's pampered canines may have their own spas complete with jacuzzis and massage, but it can still be difficult for a dog to find inner peace. Help is now at hand in the shape of yoga instructor Suzette Ackermann and her yoga class -- for dogs.
Each Saturday morning in the city's Sheung Wan district, owners massage their pets before bringing them into postures such as the cobra pose, in which the hind legs are stretched out to the rear, as soothing music plays.
"You want to try and calm the dog down, so just touch along either side of the spine, then the rib cage, then the belly," Ackermann -- a South African dance and yoga teacher who started the sessions a year ago -- tells the class.
She leads the class in tandem with her seven-year-old Pekinese, Snowball, who, Ackermann told AFP, has been her inspiration.
The one-eyed, utterly relaxed animal with fluffy white fur has become a local celebrity through dog yoga, and is often recognised in the street from her TV appearances.
"Snowball's like a Zen Buddha," Ackermann says. "She goes into all the poses... She just doesn't care, which is perfect in the yoga sense that she has no ego, no attachment, she's just present. You can lie her down on her back to do shavasana (corpse pose), and she'll stay there."
Doga has made inroads in pet-loving Japan, as well as in the United States, where teachers Suzi Teitelman and Amy Stevens have both issued doga DVDs.
The class is sometimes interrupted by dogs getting into a fight, yapping loudly or running off into a corner. One Yorkshire terrier/Pomeranian cross, Kopi -- aged one -- seems as though he would rather be running around a field than working to align his chakras.
The downward dog is, of course, also included.
The classes have attracted poodles, corgis, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas and dachshunds, among others. "Sausage dogs are good to work with because they have long bodies, so you can really stretch them out," Ackermann said.
COMMENT: who wants doga classes more: the dog or the owner?
COMMENT: Doga will never replace merely petting your dog.
“But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?” William Butler Yeats