Seven little Australian shepherds came to meet the participants.
Saturday, 18 November, 10 a.m. The stores at Metropole Shopping Monte-Carlo are just starting to open and it’s still quiet in the prestigious shopping centre. But it’s all go on the first floor, and specifically at the Monte-Carlo Business Centre.
Because the business centre has been turned into a yoga class for the morning, with about a dozen people on the mats, under the guidance of instructor Coralie Polge. And also on the floor, some adorable little balls of fluff! Seven baby Australian shepherds, only seven and a half weeks old, have come along for games and cuddles, adding a new dynamic to the relaxation session.
Behind the concept is the Paris-based company Pawsitive Yoga. “These are normal yoga sessions, but with puppies,” explains Nessrin Mbarki, a breeder and founder of Pawsitive Yoga. “It’s an hour-long session, with 20 minutes of yoga, during which the puppies rest in a playpen. Then there are 30 minutes of hugs and play with the puppies, and we end with 10 minutes of relaxation. The participants lie down and the puppies wander between them.”
Participants are more relaxed
And it’s not just a cute idea: the presence of dogs is apparently of real benefit to the participants. “The yoga itself is good for the body, and the puppies provide soothing, positive energy. People completely forget their stress when the puppies are here,” says Nessrin Mbarki.
“The advantage of this format is that we have 20 minutes of yoga at the beginning of the session to get people relaxed. Then we gradually bring the dogs in. This helps to energise the group and helps the puppies socialise with humans. I’m delighted to be able to create this wonderful sharing experience for us, the humans, but also for the puppies,” says Coralie Polge, who is trying out the concept for the first time.
The idea immediately appealed to Clara Rosso, events director at Monte-Carlo Events: “the idea was to bring puppy yoga, which was created in the United States and has spread in France, to Monaco (…) The feedback is extremely positive, and we are already being asked when we will organise another session. At the moment, unfortunately, we don’t have an answer, but I do hope we can do it again!”
Fun and soothing
And to say the least, the event had a very quick take-up, to the point where they had to organise a second session, the first one having been completely booked up in a matter of days.
Among the participants was Iolanda, who was trying out this new type of yoga for the first time. “I would often see videos on TikTok or Instagram, and it made me want to try it. It’s nice, and it’s soothing. (…) I loved it when the puppies came in, and it’s great to be able to combine yoga with fur babies!” she says.
Same goes for Ashley and Joel, a couple from New Zealand and based in Nice. “It was incredible, wonderful, so cute! Ashley brought me here this morning as a surprise, I didn’t know anything about it,” says Joel, with a big smile.
“I loved when we were lying down for relaxation and the puppies came to walk around, hug us and lick us,” adds Ashley, who says she feels much more relaxed after the session.
The pups’ well-being first and foremost
This new activity isn’t just beneficial to humans: the puppies, with a different breed very two weeks, also get something out of it. Not just their share of cuddles and caresses, but also they need contact with humans as part of their development.
“I think it’s a good concept: at their age, puppies need to see a lot of things, a lot of people, so they can be really sociable and ‘pawfectly’ well-behaved. They spend about half an hour with people, and they rest for 50 minutes. It’s very important for them to see people, but it’s also very important that they have time to rest, because they’re still babies,” says Severine Pavillon, the litter’s breeder, from the Var.
The morning ended with a time for socialising and networking over a tasty and healthy breakfast, where participants could have a chat and get to know each other.