In puppy yoga, downward facing dog takes on a whole new meaning.
“It’s like animal-assisted therapy combined with yoga, whether it’s a goat or a puppy,” said Danielle Kerr, owner of Goat Yoga Chicago in South Barrington.
Kerr began offering goat yoga classes in 2015 and expanded to puppy yoga after receiving a call from the founder of Second City Canine Rescue, which has an adoption center in Palatine.
“These are brand new babies. They do not know anything. They have never seen a human being get down and play with them. So it exposes them to everything they will need when they join a forever family,” said Christina Morrison, Second’s director of development. Dog rescue in town.
All puppies who participate in yoga classes are up for adoption, which is why puppy yoga classes do not have a regular weekly schedule.
“It’s all over the place because we’re waiting for a puppy transport to come in. And to be honest, sometimes these puppies are suffering from, you know, different things that they need to be treated for before they get into puppy yoga,” , Kerr said.
Once they are cleared for adoption, the yoga studio sends out a newsletter with puppy yoga class times and dates. You can sign up for updates here.
“You can do yoga and pet a puppy or you can just sit and pet a puppy. We don’t care. It brightens everyone’s day. I never see anyone leave here still stressed or unhappy,” Morrison said.
The American Heart Association cites research that shows that simply playing with a dog can increase feel-good chemicals in the brain and lower blood pressure.
“And just to know you’re doing something right, so the puppies are socialized and then they can go to good homes.” And then you know you played a part in that, which is pretty cool too,” Kerr also said.