DAILY LIFE Down­ward dog takes on a whole new mean­ing

Up for stretch­ing with pups? Puppy yoga is the lat­est fit­ness craze sweep­ing the na­tion





UN­EM­PLOY­MENT It’s a sunny au­tumn Sun­day and yoga in­struc­tor Char­maine Pang is lead­ing a class of 30-odd stu­dents on the 15th floor of One King West in Toronto. Po­si­tioned on her fore­arms and knees, she arches her back then curves it in re­verse to demon­strate a clas­sic move known as cat-cow. But there’s an­other an­i­mal mak­ing its way into the pose — a 6-week-old Aus­tralian shep­herd puppy is crawl­ing be­tween Pang’s legs to seek shel­ter un­der her arched back.

A col­lec­tion of “awes” es­cape from the class a the adorable scene un­folds. Pang gives the pup a quick pat and it emerges from be­neath her to greet the class.

This puppy is one of eight stars of the lat­est fit­ness craze — puppy yoga. Much like it sounds, it’s a reg­u­lar yoga class with the ad­di­tion of cute, adorable pup­pies that roam the stu­dio dur­ing prac­tice.

Keith Mitch­ener ran goat yoga classes in Ot­tawa be­fore he switched to pup­pies in Jan­uary 2018. He brought puppy yoga to Toronto 10 months

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A Sun­day one-hour puppy yoga class — 40 min­utes of yoga and 20 min­utes for ex­tra cud­dles and pho­tos at the end — at the event room at One King West in Toronto. go and has hosted­about 1,000 stu­dents so far with ev­ery class sold out weeks in ad­vance.

Mitch­ener con­nects with ru­ral breed­ers on­line then checks out their fa­cil­i­ties him­self be­fore part­ner­ing with them. The breed­ers drive pup­pies in for each day of classes. They’re as young as

6 weeks old and par­tic­i­pate in classes for two to three weeks be­fore they be­come old enough to be sold to their new own­ers.

Mitch­ener runs four classes a day most Satur­days and Sun­days, work­ing with a ros­ter of lo­cal in­struc­tors to lead classes.

Ca­nine yoga is clearly catch­ing on. In March the North­ern Al­berta In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy hosted a one-off class in Ed­mon­ton with fos­ter dogs from a lo­cal res­cue. In Mon­treal the Dogue Shop of­fers “doga” classes but its BYOD (bring your own dog). And in Toronto, Mitch­ener’s idea has spawned com­pe­ti­tion. In Septem­ber, Pups Yoga be­gan hold­ing week­end classes at the dance stu­dio Lindy Hop Rev­o­lu­tion.

For Pang and most par­tic­i­pants, dog own­er­ship is unattain­able, A Van­cou­ver casino has apol­o­gized and is in­ves­ti­gat­ing Drake’s claim of be­ing racially pro­filed.

Scan for the story at thes­tar.com/en­ter­tain­ment The pup­pies, which are as young as 6 weeks old, are brought in by lo­cal breed­ers. Stu­dents cud­dle up with the pup­pies in the lat­ter por­tion of the class.

whether it’s the lack of space, fi­nances or time to give a furry friend.

But puppy yoga pro­vides dog lovers an op­por­tu­nity to take ad­van­tage of the ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits pets can pro­vide.

Pang re­calls a re­cent class when a puppy fell asleep on a par­tic­i­pant’s chest.

“He just had the big­gest smile on his face,” she says.


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