Move Over Yoga, It’s Time for Doga!: An Interview with Zen Dogs Wellness

Over the September 30th weekend, the team at Northern got zen at the Yoga and Wellness Show in Toronto! Not only did we meet a ton of new friends (both of the two-legged and four-legged variety), but we got to take our love of health to the mat with Alexandria at Zen Dogs Wellness!

This week we asked the folks at Zen Dogs some questions about their practice of yoga and doga, and thought we would share the magic with you.  So without further ado, here is Alexandria at Zen Dogs Wellness:

What is Doga?

Doga is essentially known as Yoga with your Dog. But Zen Dogs classes are different than the other Doga practices around the world.

What makes Zen Dogs classes special?

A Zen Dogs class is not just bringing your dog to yoga or having your smaller dogs in poses with you. It’s about engaging your dog throughout the class while giving them and you the healing you both deserve. In a Zen Dogs class, we spend intentional time focused on our pups – working with them on a physical level and energetic level. We alternate from human time to doggy time and make sure that both canine and human receive physical, mental and spiritual healing. Zen Dogs classes are perfect for dogs of all sizes and all ages!

One of our favourite parts is our sound healing shavasana! Experience the magical vibrations of the crystal singing bowls with the soothing and healing voice of Alexandria. Come out to a class, and experience its magic for yourself!

What is the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration for my Zen Dogs (Wellness and Doga) classes began with my rescue dog, Soul. I adopted him in April 2016 and he had one of the most fatal diseases a dog could have – heart worm disease. His treatment was so aggressive on the body and took almost all his energy. His body would shake and quiver, he was so weak he couldn’t get up and it was heart breaking to watch. As an intuitive healer and performer, I did what I thought would help. I would sing and play my crystal singing bowls for him, I would do Reiki on him and meditate with him with the hope that it would ease his pain and fear- and it did! For the duration of his treatment, every day I would sing, play the bowls, meditate and do Reiki on him – the positive effects were too clear to ignore.

I continued tireless research on how to help his physical body, and I even worked with my vet to learn about beneficial stretches and massages that would help bring Soul back to his full strength.

It has now been about 9 months and I am happy to say that he is back to the Soul I know! And lucky for him, he still gets sang to and massaged daily!

How long have you been teaching these classes?

I have been teaching my classes since July 2016 and the curiosity and demand has since grown exponentially in Toronto! My goal with Zen Dogs is to intentionally give our fur babies the love, healing and attention they deserve. This class is about bonding deeply with your pup and is more about them than you!

What are the benefits of Doga for you, your dog, and the connection between you two?

Check out this article from Get leashed.  They did an article on the benefits of Doga when I was teaching with them.

I would add one point to their article… Dogs’ physical benefit. Their bodies benefit immensely from our Zen Dogs classes because we teach specific massages, stretches and healing modalities to ease their bodies of pain, aches, and anxiety. I specifically love our lymphatic drainage massage because it can greatly help dogs of all ages, but it extremely beneficial for older dogs and dogs who have had injuries. This Zen Dogs practice can increase the longevity of your dogs physical and mental health.

How do you keep the dogs focused?

It’s really simple – as you engage with you pup, they stay focused on you and your energy. Now, of course, in a room full of dogs you can expect some barking and humans giggling, but that’s the fun in it! It’s an irresistibly cute time! As the facilitator, I often remind the humans in the room that if their dog is asking for their attention, this is the time and place to give it to them. If your dog is barking for you, the moment you connect with them, that barking disappears! It’s such a beautiful thing to see! Most of the time the dogs are pretty relaxed. There is maybe one or two dogs that bark in class, but with the intention of spending this time with them, the room becomes silent again!

How do dogs generally respond to a Doga class?

Dogs LOVE our Zen Dogs classes! It’s a great time to socialize them with dogs and humans as well. They get some time to sniff butts and play after class! Our Doga Dogs stay on leash during the practice to keep everyone with their owners, but usually they don’t want to stray from them. Dogs tend to especially love our sound healing shavasanas. The room is in total ecstasy, dogs and humans alike. The energy that is felt throughout the class is blissful, love-full and joyful.

Why should every dog owner give Doga a try?

Zen Dogs Doga classes are great for dogs of all sizes and ages. It’s a great time to bond with your pup(s) and a great time to give your dog(s) that love and healing they need and deserve. On top of all that, your pup will get to socialize, connect, receive and enjoy quality time with you! You on the other hand, will have a blast with all the cute fur babies around, and get time to give yourself some physical movement, some mindful healing and time with your pup! It’s a win win!

Get in touch with Zen Dogs for upcoming classes!

Instagram: @zendogswellness



And there you have it! I don’t know about you but I think after hearing about Doga from Alexandria, exercise has NEVER sounded so good. Rejuvenation and pups? It’s the active dog-lover’s dream.

To see Zen Dogs Doga classes in action check out this video and if you are interested in getting some face time with the wonderful people at Zen Dogs Wellness and living up the spookiest (and best) time of year, make sure to check out their Halloween Benefit this Tuesday, October 24th! There will be costumes, Doga classes, raffles, and prizes (including some from us here at Northern) and the money raised will go to the dogs effected by Hurricane Harvey! Make the most out of this Halloween season with your best four-legged friends and Zen Dog Wellness!  For more info and tickets click here!

And here at Northern, we are so in the Doga spirit that we made our customized Northern yoga mats like the ones you see in our Yoga and Wellness Show photos available to purchase here! Check them out so that you and your dog can embrace a zen life in style!

That’s all for now, but be sure to check back in a couple weeks to hear all about our new compostable packaging and the other cool stuff we have cooking here at Northern!

Until next time,

Emily Grillo






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