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DA N B O R R I S

Sit. Stay. Stay in the moment.


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). 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. But be sure to 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. We invented it.

DOGS

Y O G A
—From the Introduction

DAN BORRIS is a professional photographer widely recognized for his


portraiture. His images have appeared in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, the New

D O G S
York Times, and Smithsonian, among many others. His work has been honored
by Communication Arts, American Photo, and the Art Directors Club of New
York. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

For more information, visit YogaDogz.com

An imprint of ABRAMS
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
www.abramsimage.com

U.S. $15.95 Can. $18.95 U.K. $9.99


ISBN 978-0-8109-9682-3
51595

9 780810 996823

PRINTED IN U.S.A.

*No dogs were harmed during the making of this book.


But maybe some of our more extreme flexibility can be chalked up to a little digital help. DAN BORRIS

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DOGS

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DOGS
DAN BORRIS
ABR AMS IMAGE
NEW YORK

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Editor: David Cashion
Designer: Kara Strubel
Production Manager: Alison Gervais

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Borris, Daniel.
Yoga dogs / Daniel Borris.
p. cm.
ISBN 978-0-8109-9682-3 (alk. paper)
1. Dogs—Pictorial works. 2. Photography of dogs. 3. Dogs—Humor.
I. Title.
SF430.B67 2011
636.702'07--dc22
2010036794

Copyright © 2011 Daniel Borris

Published in 2011 by Abrams Image, an imprint of ABRAMS. All


rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
mechanical, electronic, photocopying, or otherwise, without written
permission from the publisher.

Printed and bound in U.S.A.


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Abrams Image books are available at special discounts when purchased


in quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or
educational use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For
details, contact specialmarkets@abramsbooks.com or the address below.

115 West 18th Street


New York, NY 10011
www.abramsbooks.com

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FOR ALE JA NDR A ,
whose compassion and love for animals is boundless.

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INTRODUCTION

oga Dogs is the first fully illustrated guide to yoga

Y 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 funda-

mental. 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 chas-

ers, we all can enjoy its benefits. Even if you spend a lot of your

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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, “Yoga

has 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 experi-

ence a deeper, more unified sense of self: “For a long time,

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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. A

Beagaschnauzapoo.” 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 sug-

gests a different history. Photographs have been found trac-

ing Yoga Dogs back more than one hundred years. Several of

the earliest images feature dogs practicing yoga in India, and

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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 pur-

pose 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.)

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An unusual, modern snapshot from 1965
of West Coast Yoga Dog Romeo, taken
on California’s Zuma Beach.

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This tintype dated 1898 and taken
in Bombay (Mumbai) India is one of the
earliest-known images of a Yoga Dog master.
It is believed that Guru Lilipalko founded
the first Yoga Dog school in Bombay.

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In this rare hand-tinted portrait from the Kutte
Ka Studio in Agra (c. 1900), we see Swami Chote
in Kukkutasana pose. This swami known for
his diminutive size (chote means tiny in Hindi)
and amazing flexibility became a sensation
throughout India at the turn of the 19th century.

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This early 20th-century photograph is believed
to be of Jake, a student at the secret East
Meets West Yoga Dog Studio. Located on
West 17th Street in Manhattan, this was the first
Yoga Dogs school outside of India.

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Yogi Rocky Barkjan, the original
Hundalini Yoga Dog master.

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Guru Sunahare Mela, spiritual leader of
the Hundalini Yoga Dog lineage.

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If you meet the Buddha on the road,
sniff him and remember his scent well.

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Viparita Salabhasana
INVERTED LOCUST
Strengthens abdomen, lower back, buttocks, and legs
Boosts heart rate
Improves absorption of oxygen
Increases fl exibility in spine
Stimulates cardiovascular and digestive systems
Opens energy channels along front of body

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Those who are free of resentful thoughts (and fleas)
will surely find peace.

Vrksasana
T RE E P OSE VAR I AT ION
Stretches inner thighs, chest, and shoulders
Strengthens calves, ankles, and spine
Improves sense of balance

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Salamba Sarvangasana
S U P P OR T E D SHOU LDER S TA N D
Stretches neck and shoulders
Improves digestion
Alleviates insomnia
Reduces fatigue
Relieves stress
Calms the brain

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Peace comes from within.
(And from pork chops that fall off the dinner table.)

Ardha Matsyendrasana
HALF LORD OF T H E F I SH E S
Stretches neck, shoulders, and hips
Energizes spine
Reduces asthma
Relieves fatigue and back pain

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Eka Hasta Adho Mukha Vrksasana
ON E - AR M HA N D S TA N D
Stretches shoulders, abdomen, and arms
Improves sense of balance

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One does not chase the car
in order to catch the car.

Hansasana
S WA N P OSE
Strengthens spine, arms, and wrists
Tones abdomen

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Adho Mukha Vrksasana
HA N D S TA N D
Stretches belly
Strengthens shoulders, arms, and wrists
Improves sense of balance
Relieves stress
Calms the brain

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Calmness of mind is reached
by cultivating friendliness toward the happy,
compassion for the unhappy,
delight in the virtuous,
and indifference toward UPS men.

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Vrischikasana
SCOR PION P OSE
Tones spinal nerves
Increases blood flow to the brain and mind-body coordination
Revitalizes body systems

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Three things cannot be hidden long:
the sun, the moon, and the truth.
Okay, maybe four if that nosy Schnauzer next door
sees where you’ve buried your bone.

Adho Mukha Svanasana


D OWN WARD - FAC I NG D O G
Strengthens arms and legs
Stretches shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
Improves digestion
Energizes the body

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Virabhadrasana
WAR R IOR I I
Stretches shoulders, chest, and lungs
Stretches and strengthens legs and ankles
Increases stamina
Relieves back pain

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Bhujangasana
COBR A P OSE
Tones back
Improves concentration
Relieves and prevents lower back pain

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A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.
A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana


U P WARD - FAC I NG D O G
Stretches shoulders, chest, lungs, and abdomen
Firms buttocks
Strengthens spine, arms, and wrists
Improves posture
Stimulates abdominal organs
Reduces asthma

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Virabhadrasana I
WAR R IOR I
Stretches neck, shoulders, chest, and lungs
Stretches and strengthens thighs, calves, and ankles
Strengthens shoulders, back, and arms

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Adho Mukha Vrksasana
HA N D S TA N D
Stretches belly
Strengthens shoulders, arms, and wrists
Improves sense of balance

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Going outside is good.
Coming inside is good.
It’s all good.

Utthita-Hasta-Padangusthasana
B IG T OE P OSE
Strengthens thighs and calves
Improves digestion
Relieves anxiety and stress
Calms the brain

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Ardha-Chandrasana
HALF - MO ON P OSE
Strengthens spine, abdomen, and ankles
Improves coordination, digestion, and sense of balance

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Two paws clap and there is no sound;
what is the sound of one paw?

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Vrksasana
T RE E P OSE VAR I AT ION
Stretches shoulders, chest, and groin
Strengthens spine and ankles
Reduces flat feet
Relieves sciatica

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Better than a thousand hollow words
is one word that brings peace.
Especially if that one word is
“Who wants their tummy rubbed?”

Bitilasana
C AT- COW VAR I AT ION
Massages spine and belly organs
Stretches neck and front torso

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Halasana
P L OW P OSE
Stretches shoulders and spine
Relieves stress
Reduces fatigue

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To conquer oneself is a greater feat than conquering others.
Unless it’s conquering that whiny ball of Siamese fuzz
behind the fence that never shuts up.

Trikonasana
T R I A NGLE P OSE
Stretches and strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
Relieves stress
Reduces anxiety, flat feet, and neck pain

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Parivrtta Trikonasana
RE V E R SE T R I A NGLE
Stretches hips and spine
Opens chest
Improves breathing
Relieves mild back pain

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Sometimes you’re the dog,
sometimes you’re the hydrant.

Virasana
H E R O P OSE
Strengthens arches
Improves digestion and relieves gas
Reduces asthma and high blood pressure

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Supta Padangusthasana
RECL I N I NG B IG T OE P OSE
Stretches hips, thighs, hamstrings, and calves
Strengthens knees
Improves digestion
Reduces flat feet and high blood pressure

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When you realize how perfect everything is,
you will tilt your snout back
and laugh at the sky.

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Tittibhasana
F I RE F LY P OSE
Stretches back torso and inner groin
Strengthens arms and wrists
Tones belly
Improves sense of balance

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All that we are is the result of what we have smelt.
What we smell, we become.

Savasana
CORP SE P OSE
Relaxes body
Reduces fatigue, headache, high blood pressure, and insomnia

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Paripurna Navasana
F U LL B OAT P OSE
Improves digestion
Stimulates kidneys
Relieves stress

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Meditation brings wisdom;
lack of meditation leaves ignorance;
lack of wisdom means you won’t figure out
how to open the pantry door where the Scooby Snacks are kept.
So meditate real good.

Padangusthasana
T OE S TA N D
Strengthens belly
Relieves arthritis in hips and leg joints
Balances and focuses body and mind

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Bakasana
C R A N E P OSE
Stretches upper back, arms, and wrists
Strengthens abdomen

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There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth:
not going all the way, and not starting.
And pretending you didn't eat that pair of Manolo Blahniks!

Upavistha Konasana
W I DE - A NGLE S E AT E D FORWARD BE N D
Stretches insides and backs of legs
Strengthens spine
Stimulates abdominal organs
Calms the brain

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Parsva Bakasana
SI DE C R OW P OSE
Strengthens arms and wrists
Tones spine and belly
Improves sense of balance

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Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future;
concentrate the mind on the present moment
and on avoiding mailboxes while riding in the car
with your head out the window.

Virabhadrasana III
WAR R IOR I I I
Strengthens shoulders, back, legs, and ankles
Tones abdomen
Improves sense of balance and posture

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Virabhadrasana
WAR R IOR I I
Stretches shoulders, chest, and lungs
Stretches and strengthens legs and ankles
Increases stamina
Relieves back pain

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You yourself,
as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve love and affection,
and a warm spot in the bed where someone just got up.

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Natarajasana
LORD OF T H E DA NCE
Stretches shoulders, chest, abdomen, and thighs
Strengthens legs and ankles
Improves sense of balance

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Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight.
But a jar full of peanut butter is really something.

Eka Hasta Adho Mukha Vrksasana


ON E - AR M HA N D S TA N D
Improves sense of balance
Relieves stress
Calms the brain

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Garudasana
E AGLE P OSE
Stretches thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back
Improves concentration
Improves sense of balance

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Only when my leash is off
can I achieve non-attachment.

Krounchasana
H E R ON P OSE
Stretches hamstrings
Stimulates abdominal organs and heart

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Hanumanasana
MON K E Y P OSE
Stretches shoulders, abdomen, arms, thighs, groin, and hamstrings
Relieves stress

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Yoga is not possible for those who eat too much
or those who do not eat at all;
those who sleep too much or who stay awake.
But if you’re not in that yoga mood,
better to err on the side of too much.

Baddha Konasana
B OUN D A NGLE P OSE
Reduces asthma, flat feet, and high blood pressure
Improves general circulation
Stimulates heart
Relieves anxiety, fatigue, and mild depression
Soothes sciatica

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Dhyana
S E LF - I NQ U I R Y MEDI TAT ION
Builds sense of purpose
Centers self
Quiets mind

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No one saves us but ourselves.
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path.
Because the path . . . wait a second . . .
Did someone say WALK?!!!

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

W ithout the partnership of Alejandra Diaz-Berrio (the other half of Yoga


Dogs and the other half of my marriage), Yoga Dogs would not exist. Not
only does she work with animals, offer valuable criticism (not always happily
received, though almost always right), organize photo shoots, research poses,
and do yoga, but she does them all straight from her heart. And for that, there
cannot be thanks enough.
Special thanks to Jamie Stolarski for his invaluable collaboration and assis-
tance in making these photographs come to life, and to Rick Valdez for his craft
and artistic eye.
Much appreciation goes to the San Antonio Animal Defense League for
opening their doors and sharing their beautiful puppies for adoption.
Of course, endless thanks to all the amazing Yoga Dogs and their compan-
ions for sharing their time, talent, and willingness to participate.
Thank you to agents Paul Wheeler at Looking Good Licensing and Julie
Newman of Jewel Branding for making this book possible.
Alejandra and I would like to thank our families for their trust and support.
Thanks especially go to my daughters, Isabelle and Sophie, for their patience
while our lives went to the dogs, and for humoring me by laughing at the right
things at the right times.
Thank you to editor David Cashion for his many superb contributions.
To Mela and Snoosh, our divine and magical yoga dog and yoga cat, both
true wonders of nature, we offer our humble gratitude.
And finally to Joy Nicholson and Otis, the original sparks of Yoga Dogs,
thank you.

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HNA6074+YogaDogs_pbkcvr_v2.indd 2 PMS240U 175L 05/10/2010 6:09 PM
DA N B O R R I S
Sit. Stay. Stay in the moment.
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). 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. But be sure to 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. We invented it.

DOGS

Y O G A
—From the Introduction

DAN BORRIS is a professional photographer widely recognized for his


portraiture. His images have appeared in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, the New

D O G S
York Times, and Smithsonian, among many others. His work has been honored
by Communication Arts, American Photo, and the Art Directors Club of New
York. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

For more information, visit YogaDogz.com

An imprint of ABRAMS
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
www.abramsimage.com

U.S. $15.95 Can. $18.95 U.K. $9.99


ISBN 978-0-8109-9682-3
51595

9 780810 996823

PRINTED IN U.S.A.

*No dogs were harmed during the making of this book.


But maybe some of our more extreme flexibility can be chalked up to a little digital help. DAN BORRIS

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