Fiona Rigg is a dog lover who after a successful career in food styling decided to take the plunge into the pet business world, Fiona founded the artisan and award winning brand PAWDinkum making handmade health treats and spa products for dogs.
Fiona has recently undergone 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training in India to introduce Doga, (yoga for dogs and their humans), to her business plan…
Can you tell me a little about dog yoga and what it is?
Dog yoga or Doga is great for both dog and owner as it provides a bonding and relaxing exercise for both.
I’m not talking about headstands or getting your pup into the plough pose with their legs over their head!
However doing yoga with your pup has multiple benefits, such as improving your posture and de stressing your dog as well as building trust between you.
It consists of various poses where your dog is engaged with you and you can give them a stroke or relaxing massage whilst also stretching your body.
Do you have a dog yourself?
I currently have a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel who is six and half called Holly, earlier this year I lost my 17 year old rescue dog, Dobby.
It was through nursing him in his last month that I immersed myself into yoga to help deal with the stress.
Doing yoga every day made a huge difference to how I felt in a positive way during this sad time, I noticed having more focus and energy.
This was the catalyst to doing my Yoga Teacher Training and I wanted to train in India, the birth place of yoga, which is why I’ve just finished my training there and hope to share it with other people and their dogs.
What can we learn from our dogs when it comes to yoga?
Some yoga poses actually are named after dogs – such as upward facing dog and downward facing dog.
Dogs naturally stretch and move around a lot and often as humans that’s something we forget to do!
Dogs also live in the moment which is something we can take from them, as very often we are rushing around thinking of what next.
Yoga teaches us to be present and dogs can teach us this too.
What is the benefit of doing yoga for us as humans?
There’s so many benefits both mentally and physically, such as decreasing anxiety and depression and becoming stronger, as well as more flexible.
Yoga also allows for people to become more present in the moment which means that they are calmer once they leave a class, helping them to stimulate their parasympathetic nervous system known as ‘rest and digest’.
In this state the body can become calmer, healing both physical and mental problems.
How do you make sure yoga is enjoyable for your dog?
Our Doga sessions will be enjoyable as it allows the owners to engage with their dogs, through massage and stroking in certain postures.
The group sessions will also be a bonding for dogs as they can play with the others, and of course they will be rewarded for good behaviour with our special PAWDinkum biscuits!
What if they get bored?
It’s great when the dog’s owner brings a mat or special blanket for them, this helps them settle.
If they did get bored the Yoga studio that I’ve built has plenty of land and stimulation for pups not to get bored, and if they zone out in a certain posture there’s always another one for us to try!
Do you have tips for starting to do yoga at home?
One quick and easy doga pose I’d recommend trying with your pup is to begin sitting in the relaxed ‘cobblers’ pose on the ground – keep your legs bent, knees down and relaxed, back straight and shoulders down.
Without forcing your pup put them between your legs and start stroking them, rubbing their ears which have acupuncture points to relax them.
Slowly make your way stroking down their jaw, whilst you exhale, bend from your hips giving yourself a nice stretch and also showing your dog some love and affection.
Where can people find out more?
On my website you can find out more about all of my hand made health biscuits and their benefits, as well as my upcoming doga classes.
My website is pawdinkum.com.au you will also find links to my social media pages, where you can see all of my latest pup-dates.