Combining Relaxation and Animal Therapy Raises Ethical Concerns. What is Your Stance?
The idea of puppy yoga is to combine the relaxation benefits of yoga with the therapeutic effects of spending time with animals which is a win-win for me. So why has puppy yoga become so controversial?
The ethical concerns surrounding puppy yoga revolve around the well-being and welfare of the animals. Some argue that subjecting puppies to an environment with potentially large groups of people could be stressful for the animals. Puppies are sensitive and easily overwhelmed, and the noise, movement, and handling by unfamiliar individuals could cause anxiety.
On the other hand, fans of puppy yoga say that when responsibly managed, it can provide positive experiences for both the practitioner and the puppies. They emphasise the importance of ensuring that the puppies' welfare is a priority and that the sessions are structured to allow the animals to have breaks and receive proper care within a safe environment.
To be honest, I don't think studio puppy yoga classes sound like my cup of tea. My preference when it comes to combining yoga with other activities, especially when animals are involved, is cautionary.
Yoga is a personal practice. Finding an environment that aligns with your preferences and makes you feel comfortable is essential; however, IF your puppy wants to join in, it can be a beautiful bonding experience.
The beauty of practising yoga at home is that you can adapt it to fit your lifestyle and preferences, and having your furbaby join in can make it all the more enjoyable.
I practice Kundalini and Vinyasa yoga and meditation with my new puppy at home. Gypsy loves to fall asleep to calming meditation music. Once she has burned off her energy playing with the other farm animals outside, she sometimes likes to practice yoga asanas by stretching out on the mat or sitting close by. It's a calming space for her, and I'm mindful of her needs. If she seems uninterested or restless, she can do her own thing while I focus on the yoga practice.
Remember, yoga is about self-exploration, self-care, and finding what works best for you. Whether it's a quiet solo practice, a traditional class, or any other form of exercise or meditation, the key is to do what makes you feel happy and at peace with yourself.
Trust your inner puppy instincts and find the yoga practice that brings you and your furbaby the most joy and benefits.