The Downward Dog Difference

Most dog owners will agree that sharing in some puppy love can be a serious mood-booster! Providing boundless amounts of face-licking and tail-wagging, dogs are a constant source of cheerful company.

According to a survey by the RSPCA, 39% of Australian households own a dog, with an estimated 4.2 million pet pups in the entire country. That means there’s an endless number of furry friends’ out there spreading the good vibes, with a huge increase in Melbourne facilities now offering pet therapy in hospitals and nursing homes.

Dr Kersti Seksel, former president of the Australian Companion Animal Council and registered veterinary specialist in Animal Behaviour, explains that positive human-animal companionship can truly enhance the quality of human life.

“There are many studies that show that pets have a positive effect on the mental and physical health of people,” says Dr Seksel. “Simply patting dogs can decrease heart rate and triglyceride levels and help people that have mood and anxiety disorders.”

One Melbournian Staffy is even using his cheeky canine charm to keep the clients smiling. Ninja the 6 year-old yogi dog is the brand ambassador at the recently opened Warrior One Yoga studio. Located in the heart of Brighton, the bespoke chemical-free studio has the friendliest doorman around. But the playful pup could be doing clients more good than they realise!

“Our clients love having him greet them at the door, they call it ‘Ninja Time’. He gives them cuddles before they go in for their classes!” explains Nova Brown, owner and in-house yoga advisor at WO.

When passionate yogis Dustin and Nova Brown opened Warrior One earlier this year it was only natural for Ninja to accompany them to the studio each day. Together the happy trio aspired to provide a nourishing space to empower the hearts – and not to mention bodies – of their clients.

“We wanted the WO studio to radiate a warm, friendly and homely vibe, and having Ninja here really helps to create that!” says Dustin.

The therapeutic relaxation and relieving effect that yoga has on the body is too good to be missed by Ninja, who often sits at the top of the stairs of the studio and watches the whole class.

“Ninja’s favourite yoga pose is downward dog but he also has a special trick. He rolls to savasana on command, it has everyone in hysterics!” says Nova.

More than any other animal, dogs have evolved to develop an acute connection to human behaviour and significantly demonstrate a unique human-animal bond. There’s even increasing evidence that the presence of a happy pup not only benefits people emotionally, but also potentially lengthens and supports physical health.

“Some examples include people who have dogs visit the doctor less frequently, and even live longer when recovering from a heart attack,” explains Dr Seksel.

Health benefits’ aside, simply spending some time with a loving dog is enough to hearten anyone’s day. Luckily at Warrior One some downward dog time is all a part of the package! Filling the studio with a powerfully warm presence is something that only Ninja can provide, and is well worth the trip to Brighton.



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