Yogis get literal about the downward dog

"Let's move those dogs under that tree, chest up, shoulders back, practice your dog heel. Deep breaths, inhale, exhale. Now down your dogs into a sit, and let's balance in dekasana. Weight in the left leg, right leg straight back. No distractions, ignore the squirrels. Calm breath means calm dog, focus one point. Arms swan dive back and up. Calm inhales and exhales. Hold. Dogs down. Focus on core. Balance."

This San Diego-based fitness and training team, led by founder Dawn Celapino, has redefined downward dog. "All of our workouts at Leash Your Fitness encompass both you and your dog's exercise needs," Celapino said, "from stretching and cardio to dog obedience, bonding and balance."

Like your local pet supply store's doggie-eye-level shelves of toys and treats - or your online vinyasa schedule - Leash Your Fitness has a variety of offerings including bootcamp, Yoga Arms upper body and core work, Butts and Guts with Your Mutts, kayaking, hiking, camping, surfing, beach party, yappy hour and Doga Yoga. In addition to classes for dogs and their humans, Leash Your Fitness offers an online training program for instructors on teaching a structured dog yoga class that avoids chaos in class.

"We began our mission to teach humans how smart their dogs are with a bootcamp-style fitness regimen," said Celapino, a personal and group trainer with multiple certifications from the American Council on Exercise. "The Doga Yoga class evolved after, and became popular quickly as a nonintimidating, accessible activity that allowed practitioners to find their own challenge level and grow from it."

All classes are designed for beginners to experienced yogis and yogi-dogs, and tailored to meet everyone's mental and physical challenge levels. "The team's goal," Celapino said, "is to create a variety of classes that allow you and your dog to keep a healthy lifestyle and bond - in a supportive environment with other dogs and their humans - where you're having so much fun, you might even forget that you're working out!"

Doga Yoga classes begin with walking and standing stretches, followed by mat work. "All yogi levels and breeds are encouraged to attend," Celapino said, "Whether or not you're flexible, whether your dog is calm or restless, you'll both feel relaxed and have fun!"

The best part - 100 percent of the proceeds from Doga Yoga classes benefit local rescue efforts at Furry Foster. The next class is from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Morley Field on Texas and Upas streets. On Nov. 2, join Leash Your Fitness in its effort to make the Guinness Book of World Records for largest dog yoga class at Markim Pet Resort in Carmel Valley.

Ultimately, our pursuit of balance and stillness in motion is the means to the end of staying present. And who better than our dogs - the ultimate yogis and gurus of focus and attention on the immediate shiny thing - can teach us what it means to stay present?

5-in-5 FitN borough of the week: Solana Beach

Five fitness playgrounds in a five-mile radius

Try all five with one membership: FITn.com

LEASH YOUR FITNESS: Yoga and Workouts with your Dog!

(619) 822-3296 / LeashYourFitness.com

GET KELLY FIT: Cross Training with Outdoor Workouts and Studio Sculpt

(858) 692-1814 / GetKellyFit.com / 742 Genevieve St., Suite R, Solana Beach 92075

YOGA SIX SOLANA BEACH: Ground up and simple to complex yoga-restorative, stretching, hot hatha and vinyasa, flow, sculpt, barre, fusion

(858) 345-1810 / YogaSix.com / 437 S. Highway 101, Solana Beach 92075

STUDIO 540: Brazilian jiu jitsu, submission wrestling, judo, vale tudo, Gracie Combatives, Women Empowered & Bully Proof

(858) 792-7776 / Studio-540.com / 540 Stevens Ave., Solana Beach 92075

GEMINI FIT LOUNGE: Personal training (private or group), corporate boot camp, warrior training camp, corporate fitness center design

760.429.4321 / GeminiFit.com / 742 Genevieve Street, Suite H, Solana Beach 92075

Source: DiscoverSD

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