LAKEVIEW — Yoga's really gone to the dogs.
Starting this Sunday, Ganesha Yoga studio in Lakeview will launch its first-ever summer "doga" series — that is, you guessed it, yoga for dogs.
"Yoga is all about connections," said doga instructor Gary Alexander. "There's no other creature that we are as connected to as dogs."
Each Sunday morning session will be at Jonquil Park. Owners will move through a series of traditional yoga poses, incorporating their pets along the way. Smaller dogs might be picked up for certain exercises, and all pups can benefit from extra petting and stretches.
Instructors at Ganesha, 3113 N. Lincoln Ave., said the classes are a good way to "cultivate calmness" for dogs.
The pets are "getting a particularly focused time with their owners, and it's not just play," said Alexander, a dog lover who's long been interested in animal physiology.
The dogs are "sort of focusing on the connection with their owner, sensing the calm, even connecting with the breath of their owner," he said.
Mindy Hanzlik, who co-owns Ganesha, said doga classes are a fun introduction for beginners, or a great way to shake up an existing routine.
"Putting yoga in your life doesn't have be some two-hour-a-day uber-practice in a hot room or going crazy," Hanzlik said. "It can be just breathing. ... Doing something with your dog is a nice way to make it accessible."
Since Ganesha launched in October 2012, making yoga accessible has been the name of the game.
The studio caters to beginners and "people who might be a little intimidated to walk into a yoga studio — maybe they think they don't fit the public image of what yoga should be," co-owner Jane Musgrave said.
Ganesha offers classes for men, plus-sized clients, families, new moms and kids.
"On Lincoln Avenue alone, within a half-mile of us, there are probably eight yoga studios," Musgrave said with a laugh. "We didn't really feel like the world needed another all-purpose Hatha/Vinyasa studio."
This summer's doga sessions will run on from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday and July 20 and Aug. 10 at Jonquil Park. Each class costs $16, and pre-registration is required.
Musgrave asks that potential clients only join if their dogs are socialized well enough to participate. To register, visit the website.
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