If cats did exercise classes, you suspect they’d make excellent yoga masters. Watch your cat and you’ll notice their graceful array of yoga like poses. From torso stretches to child’s pose, our feline friends are grace personified, so it’s no surprise that cat yoga is a growing trend as cat lovers combine this calming workout with the therapeutic benefits of cats.
Cat yoga classes can be found all over Australia, with the trend credited to a video of a successful class in the USA that went viral in 2015. Now, cat cafes in Sydney, animal shelters in Canberra and yoga studios in Perth are just some of those offering the feline-friendly flexible workout. If you’re lucky enough, you may find a cat doing yoga alongside you, although their participation in class is entirely optional.
Though the actual class wasn’t too challenging, she says the best part was being surrounded with all the cats.
“They were all around the room. One was even resting on my foot and another one sweetly brushed past my leg when we were doing a downward dog pose.”
Yoga with cats and kittens is more fun than a serious discipline as participants share their mats with their feline classmates. Along with the physical benefits, people get the feel-good benefits of bonding with cuddly cats and cute kittens, while the cats enjoy love, affection and socialisation.
Shelters see cat yoga as the perfect fit that helps many felines find permanent homes. For example, Canberra Pet Rescue is one of a number of adoption outlets who are using cat yoga as a way for prospective owners to get to meet and bond with the newest potential member of the family.
As for its therapeutic benefits, we know yoga alone can help relieve stress and lower blood pressure, but combine that with playful purring cats and you’ll unlock enlightened bliss. It's a great way to unwind after a busy work week, and spending time with cats encourages you to slow down and enjoy life a little.
Plus, not only do cats make you feel relaxed, it could even make it easier to mediate. You’ll have noticed that your feline friend is already an expert in mindfulness as they sit and lay quietly as the world goes by. When it comes to mindfulness, we can learn a lesson from our cats.
If you have a cat at home, all you need to do is start your routine with your favourite feline in the room and encourage it to join in. Soon enough, your cat might come to explore and perform his/her own routine next to you.
But even if you’re not a yoga enthusiast, just sitting on the floor doing gentle stretches will get your cat’s attention and maybe inspire you to master the art of the stretch.
After her visit to Catmosphere, Mayu was inspired to try the workout at home. “I’ve set up a little cat yoga studio in my living room. It was a little challenging, but definitely more fun than regular yoga, plus it was a nice way to play with my cats.”