Inspired by a friend’s mastiff who would imitate his master’s morning yoga routine, photographer Dan Borris created Yoga Dogs, a full-color collection of forty-five different dogs and puppies doing human yoga poses. Don’t worry: No animals were harmed during the making of these images; their extreme flexibility is the result of clever digital trickery.
The curious, humorous, and distinctly original pictures are paired with useful information about the poses, as well as some funny canine meditations. “A fresh and highly entertaining visual treat,” Yoga Dogs is perfect for any yogi of the two or four-legged variety (Shutterbug magazine).
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Yoga Dogs is the first fully illustrated guide to yoga created by dogs for dogs (with the assistance of a few humans purely for technical purposes). Yoga for dogs isn't simply a matter of applying two-legged poses to four-legged yogis. The differences are more subtle and fundamental. For example, chakras run in a vertical line up the human spine, but in dogs, that energy field follows a horizontal path — a seemingly simple but important distinction.
Any canine can and should practice yoga. From show dogs and working dogs to mixed breeds and even basic squirrel chasers, we all can enjoy its benefits. Even if you spend a lot of your day lying around the house, only going for the occasional walk, it's important to stretch, stay flexible, and keep in shape.
For the more ambitious among us, it should be noted that many "Best in Show" winners practice yoga. A fairly large percentage of today's top competitors use yoga to keep their bodies supple and their minds focused. As you know, it's not easy remaining calm while someone's running you around in circles in front of an audience. One champion reports, "Yogahas put me back in touch with why I compete. I no longer get caught up in the nerves and expectations. Now during a show, I find myself 'in the zone,' and not even my trainer's frantic behavior affects me." Another says, "I no longer feel judged. I'm more secure with who I am as a dog." Out in the work world, Shepherds speak of a stronger connection — "a feeling of Oneness" — with their flocks and herds. And one mixed-breed practitioner claims yoga has led him to experience a deeper, more unified sense of self: "For a long time, I used to ask myself, 'Am I a Beagle? Am I a Schnauzer? Am I a Poodle? But through yoga, I realized that I'm just me. ABeagaschnauzapoo." It's also a practice that's beneficial for all ages. One elderly thirteen-year-old Chihuahua living in Miami offered, "Of course, there are the physical benefits, but it's not about only that for me. It's also about being in touch with my inner puppy."
Little is known about the exact origins of Yoga Dogs. The common belief is that Yoga Humans copied the movements of various animals as inspiration for what eventually became yoga poses. They carefully developed and refined these poses over the centuries. To outside appearances, it seems that things came full circle in the past few years when dogs began practicing these human poses, but recent evidence suggests a different history. Photographs have been found tracing Yoga Dogs back more than one hundred years. Several of the earliest images feature dogs practicing yoga in India, and additional photos taken in New York document the arrival of Yoga Dogs to the American shores in the early 20th century. It can probably be assumed that Yoga Dogs existed before the advent of photography, but they kept their practice of the flexible arts quiet to keep humans from, well, freaking out. As we know, it's really only been recently that our homo sapien companions have discovered the full range of our abilities and talents. It's no longer just "sit and stay" or "fetch" for Fido. The (peaceful) Great Terrier Rebellion of the 21st century changed all that ... but those stories are for another book. The purpose of this volume that you're holding in your paws is meant to inspire all dogs to attain better health and self-realization through the practice of yoga. If you're a beginner, start with the poses you're most comfortable with and go slow. Enjoy the process; yoga is a journey, not a destination. (And to any humans reading this: Enough with the "Downward-Facing Dog" jokes. We get it. And frankly, we invented it.)
Excerpted from "Yoga Dogs"
Copyright © 2011 Daniel Borris.
Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
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