Off The Mat and Into The Dog Park

Off The Mat and Into The Dog Park

Yoga-lovers usually appreciate it for its many real-word applications. Yoga’s many benefits can be felt off the mat, providing flexibility, energy, balance and stamina that makes for a more comfortable and happy life. And as a complement to other physical activities like running, biking, walking, climbing, swimming and tennis, yoga helps restore and rejuvenate muscles and tendons for a more well-rounded fitness routine.

As a dog owner, it’s likely that walking your best friend and visiting the dog park is a regular part of each day. Adding some simple yoga-inspired movement is a great way to wake up and shake up this daily routine. The next time you’re at the dog park, give the following stretches a try.

The Forward Fold Break:

If your dog is like mine, stopping to smell the roses (and everything else) is a big part of each walk. Use this time to stretch your back and hamstrings by bending forward at the waist, allowing gravity to do its work as you hold the leash loosely in hand.

The Sidewalk Warrior:

As your dog stops to do her business, take the time to invigorate your legs and open your hips. Holding the leash loosely in one hand, step back aligning your back foot’s arch with your front foot’s heel.You should have about 3-4 feet of space between your feet. Bend your front knee while keeping your hips open to the side. Extend one arm straight out parallel to the that front bent knee and the other arm straight behind you. Keep arms at shoulder level and stretching in either direction. Hold for a count of five.

The Free To Tree Pose:

As your pooch frolics with friends at the dog park, move yourself safely to the side and out of the way of the action. Shift all your weight to one leg. Bend the opposite knee and bring the sole of your foot to the inside of your standing leg. With hands in prayer position at your heart, hold a steady gaze at a fixed point and balance for a count of five. Follow up with the same routine on the opposite leg.

The Dog Park Plank:

Show your arms and chest some love by finding the nearest bench and placing your hands shoulder-width apart onto the back of it. Take a big step back (maintaining the position of hands) and engage your core muscles as you slowly lower your chest toward the bench and then push back again. This movement should take a count of five.

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