Best paw forward through yoga

Pawga, an initiative started by college friends, organise sessions in Hyderabad where you can learn yoga in the company of adorable indie puppies romping around the room
 Pawga session
Pawga sessionPhoto | Express

HYDERABAD : Yoga is an activity that needs no introduction; the exercise has received universal accolades for its mental and physical health benefits, as well as the long-standing traditional roots it stems from. But what if yoga could introduce you to something new — perhaps to your new fur-ever friend?

Pawga, an initiative started in 2020 by college friends Subhashree Madhavan, Sinduja Krishnakumar and Swathi Renugopal, brings Hyderabad sessions where you can learn yoga in the company of adorable Indie puppies romping around the room.

“When we started Pawga, the footfall at shelters was dwindling and adoptions were reducing. We wanted more people to get to know shelter pets. We wanted to raise funds for shelters and make adoption drives more recurring, and we also wanted more people to attend them,” Sinduja explains adding, “We believed that by spending 60 minutes with a shelter puppy, people’s hearts would change and they would want to adopt; maybe not right away but somewhere down the line.”

There was no shortage of attendees at Pancha Yoga, Madhapur, brimming with excitement to meet and play with the fur babies at their recent event. The dozen puppies themselves — all shelter puppies from the rescue home, People for Animals — made their distinct personalities known immediately; the fuzzy balls of energy rough-and-tumbled around, clambering over attendees struggling to hold their focus and their Phalakasana, while the timid, cuddly potatoes snuggled up in the warm nooks of Padmasanas and got thoroughly pampered.

The puppies enjoyed the opportunity to run around and play almost as much as they enjoyed the fawning and attention they were immediately showered with. Not a single tail was left unwagged, and not a single face without a smile, before the yoga had even begun.

“Yoga is a great way to invest in yourself that’s very accessible, because it doesn’t need many resources. And through this, you can also spend time with, and support, rescued puppies,” says Pranali, who often teaches yoga at Pawga’s Hyderabad events. She also talks about how many puppies find their forever homes through these yoga sessions, as many people attend looking to adopt immediately after the session, or make inquiries and adopt at a later date. “My yoga sessions have led to four adoptions so far, and I’m really happy to be part of it,” she says.

“The session was a lot of fun, although I probably enjoyed the puppies more than the yoga. I’m planning to adopt one after this,” a beaming attendee says, as puppy curled up to her chest, “I love all of them. Like this guy was just really shy, so he’s just been sleeping in my arms the whole time.”

Sreeram and Mounika, members of the Pawga team, elaborating on the goal to raise awareness for adopting Indie pups, and to find homes and raise support for rescue animals, says, “We want to show people how loving and active Indie puppies are, and to help find them homes. When Indie dogs are safe and not surviving on the streets, they are just as playful and sweet as any Labradors or German Shepherds that get preference for adopting. Yoga is also a great activity for getting to know these puppies. A lot of them have either never interacted with humans or have bad experiences and are scared of them. This is a very calm, therapeutic activity that is fun and easy for the pups as well as the people.”

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