Moving U: Doga Allows Pet Lovers To Enjoy Yoga With Four-Legged Friends

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COCONUT GROVE (CBSMiami) – There’s a yoga class in Miami that’s going to the dogs, literally.

Once a month, Brian Cohen gathers at a Miami-Dade park to teach a “Doga” class, a combination of dog and yoga, which is a new craze taking the nation by storm.

Brian created his Downward with your Dog class as a monthly event to promote fun and fitness with your dog.

On a recent Saturday morning in Peacock Park in Coconut Grove, CBS4’s Rudabeh Shahbazi joined about a dozen other people who had gathered with their yoga mats and their dogs.

“You go to work Monday through Friday, 9 to 5,” said yoga instructor Maday Bu. “They’re just waiting for you by the door. They deserve their time, at least one hour a week, one hour a month.”

Downward with Your Dog started with fitness trainer Flip Aguilera and Bu’s boyfriend, Brian Cohen.

“It was just Brian and I, literally, just us,” said Aguilera with a laugh. “We put it on Meetup. Twenty people said they were going to come and nobody came. I think maybe one old lady came with her dog, who just happened to be walking by.”

Now, there’s a loyal following of dog lovers.

The workout starts with a 15-minute run around the park. The rest of the hour is devoted to yoga and meditation, in collaboration with the dogs.

“I think the best benefit for them is the connection and the calmness and energy of the group,” said Cohen.

Cohen came up with the idea when his dog Lulu started gaining weight. He had recently discovered yoga and had given up his daily runs with his companion. While he says he still has not found a lot of time to go on runs with her, this is a way they can spend more time together.

“I didn’t want to be doing yoga and then be thinking poor Lulu’s at home getting none of the benefits that I’m getting,” said Cohen.

Like all yoga, Doga is a physical practice, but also one of spiritual and mental balance and one that fosters a closer harmony between dogs and their owners.

“It’s a little different because you can’t explain to them ‘Hey, let me tell you this story that will make you really think and wonder about life,’” said Cohen.

Still, Downward with Your Dog practitioners find a lot of benefits in the class, which allows their dogs to socialize, relieve anxiety, and helps them bond with their owners.

“For the dogs, I think they have a lot of fun,” said Anna Kadushin who comes with her dog Miggy.

“They get some exercise, get to run around, but I think mostly, it’s a lot of fun for me. The main thing is it makes me smile a lot. It’s a lot of fun watching the dogs while you’re doing yoga. It’s slightly silly but it’s just a good time.”

Her friend Leia Sanchez says she even incorporates what she learns in the class at home with her dog, Frida Pink Chihuahua.

“I try to meditate in the morning and she’s a Chihuahua so she’s all over the place,” said Sanchez. “So they taught me some moves that I can do when I’m meditating with her, where I can actually touch her little heart, and she just calms down so she can be integrated with my meditation in the morning. It’s just fantastic.”

Downward with Your Dog meets on the first Saturday of every month at different parks around Miami-Dade County. The class is free.

For more information, visit www.downwardwithyourdog.com.

Remember, CBS4 wants to know what’s Moving U. Email your story to movingu@cbsmiami.com and let us know what you’re doing to stay healthy and happy. Perhaps what moves you will inspire others as well!

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