“The dogs found their Zen:” We asked 10 people what it’s like to do yoga with a dog

“The dogs found their Zen:” We asked 10 people what it’s like to do yoga with a dog

On Wednesday evening, a roomful of yoga practitioners gave a whole new meaning to “downward dog” at Doga—which is, yes, yoga with dogs.


The free event, organized by Get Leashed & Company, began with shavasana led by singer and yogi Alexandria Santaguida, who played crystal singing bowls against meditative mantra music towards the end of the one-hour session. Those on two legs followed along with Santaguida, while those on four mostly chilled out nearby (though at least one pooch brought his own mini yoga mat). After breaking a sweat, the owners enjoyed ginger cookies and tea, while their dogs—some of whom were already friends on Instagram—butt-sniffed nearby. We asked Doga’s two-legged denizens to tell us why they attended the class.


Elaine Netherton

44, consultant 


9, brussels griffon 

“I’m up for anything that gets my dog out in the open. I like to expose him to positive experiences because he is a rescue who had a not-so-great beginning until we picked him up just before he turned two.”



Summer Ross



3, pomeranian 

“I wanted to try something different. Chia seemed extra-relaxed. I like the fact that Doga is helping Toronto become a more inclusive city for both pets and people.”



Corinne Chesher

26, manager 


3, shih tzu 

“I practice yoga at home all the time. Doga was a really great experience because it’s a nice way to connect with your dog one-on-one in a more relaxed way. I have a video on Instagram of Oreo playing with his favourite toy, which is a reusable Lululemon shopping bag. Also, I recognize Winston from Instagram, so it was nice to finally meet his owner, Elaine, in person.”



Callaie Naftoli

36, self-employed


13, blackhound

“Sadie is my dad’s dog. She has cancer in her leg. So does Beauford, my six-year-old golden retriever. Beauford already did Doga, while Sadie was undergoing chemotherapy and not well enough. It’s important to us that we make each day special for them. Whenever I do a fun activity with Beauford, like taking a trip to Centre Island, I use three hashtags on his Instagram: #MakeEverydaySpecial, #LiveLikeRoo and #WishLoveCouldConquerCancer. Currently, I am trying to get Live Like Roo, a foundation in the U.S. that supports dogs and their owners through cancer, registered as a charity in Canada.



Sheila Wijayasinghe

38, family doctor

Corey Tucker

40, creative director


2, goldendoodle

SW: “We love spending time with Bella, but we don’t get to take her to public spaces. Often, one person has to stand outside of a store, for instance. So it’s always nice when the three of us can get out of the house and all hang out. We loved having Bella with us tonight, but yoga is all about focus—which is difficult with a dog licking your face every time you’re in a lower yoga pose.”



Lynne Dumont

40, flight attendant 


10-month-old bernedoodle

“I do yoga myself, but I’ve never tried it with him, so I thought this was a good opportunity to see how he does. I think he did well tonight, especially for a puppy. I wanted to find ways to calm him down and connect with him because he’s quite excited most of the time.”



Jenny Cai

31, accountant


1, shiba inu 

“My friend, Bonnie, went to Doga at Purina PawsWay in August and told me all about it. It’s not often that you get to do a class indoors with a dog. Usually, it’s just playtime in parks. Doga was fun, but I wish the exercises involved the dogs more, because Aiya pretty much just sat there.”



Christine Tsang

32, finance manager


5, golden retriever

“I just wish he was less excited, because he thought yoga was playtime.”



Bonnie Ip

29, buyer


3, shiba inu

“I don’t usually do yoga, but the fact that I could bring my dog was enough to draw me in. I’m a crazy dog lady. I know that yoga is good for you and that I should do it more often because I sit a lot at work. Sumo is my reason to go out and do things.”



Stephanie Durante

21, dog trainer


2, rottweiler and border collie mix

“I love doing yoga and going everywhere with my dog, so when I can do both, why not? I loved seeing how dogs act in such an unusual environment. They were pretty cooperative: some of them found their Zen and some of them kept their spunk.”