Our dogs enjoy hatha yoga in the South of France


People are amazed if I tell them my mum of 83 years old, does a weekly class of Hatha yoga. We love seeing our dogs participating, more curiously meddling in with the lessons. Normal families have one or two, we do have a lovely pack of yep 11…

Yoga provides mum’s much needed physical exercise and the benefits of the practice, with only one hour a week. Every Thursday the teacher shows up at home and our dogs just love it. No way mum is going to do her exercises alone, they have to help!


As mum had trouble getting up when kneeling or being on the floor, we decided to ask my yoga teacher to come weekly, to give her an adapted program. Within weeks mum could get up from the ground and put herself on a chair, ideal in case of being alone and being able to at least get up. Fitness, strength and flexibility improved spectacular! Mum now has a feeling of strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.


Apart from improving flexibility, yoga is known to help with reducing the blockage of coronary arteries, high blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, backaches, diabetes, constipation, menopause, multiple sclerosis, varicose veins, and carpal tunnel syndrom.

Being diabetic mum has to eat before yoga class, where mostly it is advised not to, as you twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward, so normally it’s better to eat a yoghurt a few nuts or a juice, that’ll suffice before class.

All our dogs are rescue dogs, most of them adopted through a Belgian organization Rescani vzw (rescuing dogs in need from Spain), some taken in as the vet or even the mayor asked us to help. Having quite some land, a massive garden for the dogs too, my husband and mum at home, dogs are never alone here and get loads of attention.

Volunteers of Rescani vzw are working night and day to rescue some of the Spanish abandoned hunting or neglected dogs. Luckily they are severe when it comes to adoption and you’ll get a house visit, check up on your garden fence, this way they’re making people aware that adopting a dog is a long term commitment, a big responsability! They offer, fully vaccinated and neutered dogs, provide loads of information and help even years after the adoption, thumbs up for them. This is their website do have a look:


My responsibility for my pack now prevents me to adopt more at the time but I do help being a godmother for occasional dogs in need. This is my new godchild: Yagardin (mix Mastin – St Bernard), one year old and hopefully waiting to be adopted and get his forever home:


And mum is godmother of Emma (podenco mix) waiting for her forever basket:


Both still in need of adoption, but at least receiving help by our monthly donation until they are finally adopted. Interested? Do go to the website and offer to become a godparent or even better why not adopt a lost soul.

Hatha means forceful in Sanskrit and consists of among other things of a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your mind, breath and body. Of course mum isn’t doing weird and wonderful asanas.


To me yogha is indeed the love for the asanas (and believe me they are not the easiest ones in the world), a gentle set of exercises with flow between the poses. Attention goes inward and makes you aware of who you are in the most wonderful ways.

One position “the camel” was for me impossible to do without having tears in my eyes and my whole being refusing to go into that position. At the time, just having become a widow, it seemed as if this posture asking me to open up completely, was too much. I have learned to surrender to the pose, do that exercise now, but still don’t like it, feeling my body and emotions still have to overcome loads, although I am now remarried and living a happy life once again.

With the classic “Om” mantra you lose me. Traditionally chanted at the end of the session referring to everything that exists, pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration. Compare the sound in our daily lives to the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell. Can’t do it, am not into it, but hey that’s me.

Thanks to Saveria Harding, yoga prof, for enduring our omnipresent dogs every week, trying to enjoy her yoga lesson, although having not paid !



1 Comment on Our dogs enjoy hatha yoga in the South of France

  1. saveria
    March 30, 2015 at 9:41 pm (3 years ago)

    I wasn’t ‘scared’ of dogs, but neither was I totally comfortable with them and the 1st time I went through those gates fear and tension arose naturally and pretty fast!

    ‘Sthira sukham asanam’ is how the great sage Patanjali desribes posture, today widely learned and then experianced on the mat, ‘Sthira’ means steadiness or firmness, which to cultivate needs a connection to the earth beneath us, developing a sense of grounding or rooting. ‘Sukha’ means ease or happiness where we cultivate a light mindful approach to our posture…entering those gates with the pack of dogs increased my sensitivity and helped me deepen my understanding of these opposite but equally important qualities.

    I now walk through the pack with steadiness and ease!

    Thank you for this.


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