Animal Yoga™ comprises yoga practices that are in dedication to animals in six key ways:

  1. The physical yoga practices consist entirely of the animal-named postures (asanas), animal-named mudras, animal-oriented chanting and the bhramari pranayama (bee breath)
  2. The practices are about receiving inspiration from the animal kingdom for our approach to life
  3. The practices are about connecting with our fellow earth inhabitants and our own animal nature
  4. The practices are about sharing ever more compassion towards animals in society
  5. The practices serve as a combined healing and fundraising initiative with a magnificent 40% of all funds (after expenses) going to both the not-for-profit Animal Aid and the charity International Animal Rescue
  6. The practices are rooted in the yamas and niyamas (yogic teachings) and their application to the entire animal kingdom.

 

Animal Yoga seeks to foster as much of each the following attributes in as many people as possible and as far and wide as possible:

INSPIRATION – We can be inspired in our physical practice by many animals’ athleticism, just think of what a cat can do, let alone a cheetah or a dolphin. Not only this, but animals live in harmony with their environment and remain closely linked with it. They also are very good at “living in the moment” and listening to their bodies and their intuition. There is further wonder to be gleaned from the anatomy, physiology and behaviour of both human and nonhuman animals, which is also integrated into Animal Yoga. The ancient original practitioners of yoga are thought to have called upon the power and wisdom in their own observation when observing their surrounds for creating and naming yoga postures, and each animal and each species has its own nature, its own spirit… let this inspire our practice and lives too.

CONNECTION – We can use our practice to connect more with the animal inside of us, our own animal nature, and with many animal spirits and beings across the planet, exploring the balance between wild and tame/civilised. We can also connect more with nature and the environment and fellow inhabitants around us. We can feel a connection with the original ancient practitioners of yoga with some of the oldest postures being animal-named postures.

COMPASSION – Just as humanity (especially in the West) has made vast progress away from slavery, segregation, and the oppression of women, LGBT individuals and other such minority groups (even though world over there is still much room for improvement to say the least on all of these fronts), we can also move forward in recognising the rights of non-human animals. Indeed, some progress has already been made but there is still absolutely tonnes more to do. We can use our practice to harness even more compassion toward animals in ourselves and in others; as a prayer for the protection of animals, for the evolution of humankind to a more compassionate plane or for a specific animal or animal cause which particularly resonates with you.

A list of current Animal Yoga Teachers can be found here.

Treetops-Jen (Jenny Mace) – Animal Yoga Founder

Me BrighterI long carried the philosophical and spiritual sides of yoga close to my heart in tandem with a strong belief in the power of movement even before I discovered yoga. Naturally, I was overjoyed to learn of this all-in-one physical and spiritual practice with an emphasis on compassion, humility, positive change, surrender, health and trust… it just felt so instinctively right, especially at a time in my life when I was feeling without hope. I completed my hatha yoga training in December 2014 and have been teaching since then. I lead around four retreats a year through the renewably-powered Rustic Retreats (which feature Animal Yoga). I have formed the charitable Animal Yoga initiative as a means of drawing on the potential within yoga to positively shape how practitioners perceive our species’ relationship with other species in the animal kingdom. I feel drawn to focus on this very specific aspect of ahimsa (non-harming) with my life-long deep respect for animals, a BSc in Animal Behaviour and a belief that one day, animals shall be free from human dominion over them and the suffering that often comes with this. I wish to help this shift on its way and I know I am not the only yogi/ni with a fierce respect for animals out there wishing to see positive change; thus, with the help of other yoga teachers who share my vision, I endeavour to share yoga practices far and wide that are in complete dedication to animals for the benefit of all animal species, including our own. I am also certified in Voice Leadership and Ecstatic Awakening Dance, therefore, these wider yogic practices are often weaved into any longer events I offer. I am a part-time MSc candidate in Animal Welfare, Ethics & Law and plan to focus on the role of yoga in influencing animal protection for the dissertation.

Wish to be an Animal Yoga™ Teacher? Find out how.

 

 

Specially translated for Animal Yoga™ by Shashi at Authentic Sanskrit.
Specially translated for Animal Yoga™ by Shashi at Authentic Sanskrit.

 

 

 

= ahimsa (non-harming to all living beings)
one of the yogic teachings that Animal Yoga™ is based on

 

 

 

Specially translated for Animal Yoga™ by Shashi at Authentic Sanskrit.
Specially translated for Animal Yoga™ by Shashi at Authentic Sanskrit.

 

 

= dānam (charity)
one of the yogic teachings that Animal Yoga™ is based on