Step aside, goat yoga. There’s a new dog in town.
An Ottawa-area yoga studio has introduced puppies to a yoga class in hopes of adding the soothing effects of pet therapy to exercise.
The six- to eight-week-old Australian shepherd and pomsky puppies are brought in by a breeder. The classes help the little dogs socialize before they move to forever homes.
Participants say one of the hardest parts of the class is leaving.
“I just got to cuddle with puppies for an hour,” Michelle Van Herk, who took the class, told CTV Ottawa.
Yoga, the ancient Indian practice of stretching, meditation and focused breathing, has spawned several animal variations in recent years. Goat yoga -- that is, yoga in which goats roaming freely among the mats -- became an international craze after it was offered in Oregon.
Cat yoga, bunny yoga, snake yoga and even chicken yoga have since been offered at studios around the world.
Event company The Hive runs puppy yoga classes out of a studio in Kanata, Ont. The puppies tumble around the studio and flop on mats as participants contort into different positions.
Puppy yoga founder Keith Mitchener said he ran goat yoga classes last year, but wanted to develop his own idea.
“So, puppy yoga -- who doesn’t love puppies?” he said.
The class involves poses both with and without the puppies. For added cardio, participants often have to chase down their puppies when they sneak away from the mat.
Katya McKee said that while yoga is the main activity, the puppies are obviously the draw.
“I come here knowing that I’m going to do some yoga, but it’s definitely not going to be the main part of it,” she said. “If I could come to every class, I would.”
With files from CTV Ottawa