Paris: Stressed-out Parisians looking to combine the relaxing effects of yoga with the warm glow of cuddling a pet are discovering "puppy yoga", where sessions feature not just exercises on the mat, but fluffy puppies on hand for stroking.
Sessions at the recently opened Puppy Yoga Paris include 20 minutes of yoga and 40 minutes of interacting with puppies.
Founder Ella Rubinski said the concept strikes a chord in Paris, where many people work long hours and live in small apartments.
"Many of us can't have our dogs at home or don't have the time to take them out every day, so this is an opportunity to spend some time relaxing and being happy," she told Reuters during a session this week that included 10 Golden Retriever puppies.
"It's super nice and relaxing, but with very cute little puppies, it brings even more happiness," said 19-year-old Clara Mathieu.
Puppy Yoga Paris offers several sessions a week, each featuring a bunch of purebred puppies as well as kittens, with the animals aged six to 12 weeks. Sessions currently cost 35 euros ($38.43), which will go up to 45 euros next month.
Rubinski said she had struck partnerships with nearby breeders who rent out the animals for the sessions. The puppies stay for a few hours, then leave in the evening.
Downward dog, frolicking puppy is on the rise, the businesswoman hopes. She recently opened another puppy yoga centre in Madrid and hopes to open more centres in France throughout 2024.