doga

Yogis, doggies may set zen-filled world record

Hundreds of yogis and doggies set a Zen-filled world record Sunday at the largest dog yoga session ever, organizers of the event said.

At least 250 dogs needed to strike a pose with their humans for 30 minutes at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center class to break the Guinness World Record, said San Diego Humane Society spokeswoman Kelli Schry. At last count, about 265 canines showed up. The accomplishment won’t be official until the world record organization signs off on the achievement.

Dawn Celapino of Leash Your Fitness — a dog-centric fitness business — teamed up with the Humane Society to make the pet-friendly session happen. She said the event was put together to show how easy and fun it is for people to get active with their pets.

Sunday’s dogs weren’t expected to get into a triangle pose, or even downward dog, organizers said. Dog yoga, sometimes dubbed Doga, is really about bonding.

“If we are calm, our dogs are calm,” said Celapino. “Our dogs aren’t doing yoga, really. They are bonding with us. They are part of what we are doing.”

The Carmel Valley park, filled with hundreds of people and dogs of all shapes and sizes, was surprisingly peaceful. Most pups were curled up on their human’s yoga mats. People and pets breathed and panted in unison.

Nora, a 3-year-old English cream golden retriever, was the picture of relaxation. As Karen Gliner sat with crossed legs, her shaggy-haired pup rested calmly against her knees. Gliner has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She said Nora started joining her during her weekly sessions at home.

“She lays with me and sometimes she’ll put her face on my tummy,” the Carmel Valley resident said. “She keeps me centered and relaxed. She puts me in a very Zen place.”

Nora is a certified therapy dog, too. Gliner said Nora shares her calm demeanor with seniors and students during finals week.

Other pups, and their owners, were newer to the practice. Sunday’s session was a first for Peter Noll and his dog, Nani, an 11-year-old Bernese mountain dog.

Yoga was a first, but the two aren’t strangers to exercising together. Noll started SoCal Surf Dogs, a club for surfing dogs — or surFurs — and their owners. Nani won more than a dozen awards before retiring several years ago. Noll said getting people and their pets active is his passion.

“What can be better than that — getting active and taking your dog with you,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to exercise with your dog.”

January is National Pet Fitness Month, and the Humane Society has pet-friendly opportunities planned for the entire month, the spokeswoman said.

“We want to encourage people that as they make their new year’s resolutions and work to get more fit, to remember that there are a lot of fun ways to incorporate your dog,” Schry said.

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