Puppy yoga and mental health

Shortly after midterm exams, Seton Hall University recently organized an event for mental health.  A collaboration between Seton Hall and "Doggy Noses and Yoga Poses." Linking up the yoga and canine communities and all poses and points in between, "Students participated in a yoga class while puppies from One Step Closer Animal Rescue walked around and interacted with each participant." Though not named 'downward, human," it should have been. Prostrate yourself next to a furry friend.

"SAB events coordinator, Eliana Driesse, a sophomore elementary and special education major, said the event brought her "back home."

"It's a great stress reliever, especially right before Thanksgiving when everyone's like, 'I need a break,'" Driesse said.

Isabella Rosario, a junior biology major, said attending the event allowed her to reset her mental health. 

"Just to take my mind off of things for a little bit and also just see some smiling dogs that just have that love," Rosario said. "It's nice to get some energy out and be around happy puppies."

Yoga, humans, and puppies in the same room, moving around together – not always in unison, is a more common occurrence, not only on university campuses. For example, in Dallas, TX, Friends of Northaven Trail and Corepower Yoga are bringing awareness to mental health and physical activity, as well as shelter's needs for animal adoptions. This phenomenon is emerging all over the

"Organizers with Operation Kindness will provide several adorable (and adoptable) puppies to help yoga enthusiasts of all levels with their stretches. They ask people to bring their own mat, a towel and water."

As the American Kennel Club counseled in 2018,

"We already know that interacting with a dog can lower stress and anxiety, while improving our mood," registered yoga teacher Marissa Soto, co-owner of Arlington Yoga Center in Texas, says. "The practice of yoga can help in the same way. By moving, stretching, breathing, allowing the mind to take a break, we find a lowering of stress and anxiety."

The mental health benefits are not only for the humans,

"Doting on puppies isn't just fun, it's important for their socialization. All the love they receive during classes helps them become more comfortable, friendly, and confident around people — something that will benefit them later in life. Soto adds, "They also get an opportunity for exercise. And for the ones that are available for adoption, there is the possibility of finding a great home."

There are multiple videos on the interweb; I will share two links, one from Yoga Kawa in Toronto (remember the second "t" is silent). The other is a dog and their human interacting with balancing poses – dual downward dog, if you will. Here is a video report from the daytime show Cityline, "The mental health benefits of puppy yoga."

These videos give new meaning to the yoga metaphor, "Melt your heart/ Melt from your heart."