Cat Yoga

Cat Yoga

Have you ever unrolled your yoga mat, only to find your feline friend joining you for a stretching session? If so, you're not alone. Many cat owners have experienced the delightful intrusion of their curious and flexible companions during their yoga practice. This unexpected companionship has given rise to a trendy fusion of relaxation and flexibility – Cat Yoga, or as some affectionately call it, "Meow-ga."

Feline Curiosity in the Yoga Space

Ah, your cat does it too, huh? I laughed my bottom off the first time it happened.

My cats mostly ignored my yoga until I started doing floor work, like Crocodile Pose. The first time, I rolled slowly over to face left and found one of my cats lying next to me, rolling around on her back.

When I rolled the other way, there was my other cat, also having a good old squirm on its back.

Thereafter, they always joined me for floor-based poses, and later took to jumping on my back whenever I bent down. Yoga and my cats.

When I get home from yoga classes or if I am just practicing at home, my cats both seem to get extremely happy and connected with my presence. It's consistent too. If I'm at home, they come find me in my room that I practice in, and join me by rolling around, purring, stretching, and rubbing up against my legs/arms. Correlation? Or am I just a nut job? My cat is more connected with me before I go to yoga. She knows when I put on my sneakers that I'm about to go and she's suddenly very interested in cuddles. When I get back home she's no longer as interested in my attention, now that she knows I'm home for the night. That's basically not true. Yeah, there's the observation that they are fascinated by the box something shipped in. But at the end of the day, the cat likes that warming pad that came in the box more than the box. Cats like scratching posts, and cat trees, and dangly toys, and hidey holes, and circular beds, and treats, and cat doors, and wall grooming combs.

Meow-ga Classes: A Blend of Fun and Relaxation

The idea of combining cats and yoga has gained immense popularity, leading to the introduction of specialized classes known as "Meow-ga" or "Cat Yoga." These classes provide a unique and enjoyable experience for both seasoned yogis and cat enthusiasts.

“I really like the class and really like hanging out with all the cats,” said Katie Misencik, a volunteer and regular yoga practitioner.

Misencik has taken other theme yoga classes, including one that involves beer, but she says the cat class is pretty special.

“It’s all about fun and is a little more relaxing,” she said. “There’s not as much pressure to make my form perfect.”

Studies show that yoga can improve your balance, your breathing, your sense of self, and your overall health. It can reduce anxiety and fight off depression. It strengthens your core and can help ease chronic pain. Yoga with your cat, also known as cat yoga or cat-ffirmations, is a fun and relaxing way to bond with your feline companion while also enjoying the health benefits of your favorite poses.

Incorporating Your Cat into Your Yoga Routine

Cats are naturally curious and rolling out your yoga mat may suffice to grab your cat’s attention. Let your cat investigate the mat as well as any equipment you use, and don’t force them to participate. Perhaps they prefer watching from a distance for now, only to join in next time.

Incorporating Your Cat into Various Poses

Allowing your cat to be part of your yoga practice can be a fun and rewarding way to bond with your feline companion. Here are some ways in which you can incorporate your cat into various yoga poses:

  1. Seated Poses: For seated poses, such as the cross-legged position, you can invite your cat to sit on your lap or next to you. Gently pet your cat or hold their paw as you breathe deeply and focus on your pose.

  2. Cat Watching: Cats are natural observers. Let your cat sit nearby and watch as you flow through your yoga routine. Their calming presence can enhance your mindfulness and relaxation.

  3. Partner Poses: Explore partner poses with your cat. For example, try a gentle forward bend while encouraging your cat to stretch alongside you. This creates a shared moment of relaxation.

  4. Cat-Cow Variation: During the Cat-Cow pose, let your cat walk under your arching back. This playful interaction adds a touch of joy to your practice.

  5. Child's Pose with Cat: In Child's Pose, create a cozy space for your cat in front of you. As you sink into the pose, enjoy the comforting presence of your feline friend.

Health Benefits for Humans and Cats

More than just a series of physical poses, yoga also encompasses meditation and breathing. The popularity of yoga, a discipline that has been practiced for thousands of years, has increased greatly over the past few decades as more people discover its benefits. Yoga "is considered one of many types of complementary and integrative health approaches," reports the Mayo Clinic. In addition to improving flexibility, increasing muscle tone, and nurturing mindfulness, research shows that yoga also assists with issues, such as anxiety, chronic illness, and depression.

The Playful Stretch: Cats as Natural Yogis

So, how do cats fit into this discipline? As top-notch stretchers themselves, as well as intuitive soothers, cats are natural at adopting the physical and emotional aspects of yoga. Watch closely the next time your kitty gets up from her nap, and you'll see just how pliable her muscles are.

Because cats are playful and curious by nature, and because cats will do what they can to get your attention, the minute you hit the yoga mat, your kitty will be right there with you, working on her cat pose (and probably clawing the mat). Consider yourself forewarned.

In conclusion, cat yoga is not just a passing trend; it's a delightful blend of relaxation, flexibility, and the undeniable charm of our feline friends. Whether your cat is a passive observer or an active participant, the presence of these furry companions can add an extra layer of joy to your yoga practice. So, roll out your mat, embrace the playful energy of your cat, and let the purr-fect harmony of Meow-ga enrich your mind, body, and soul. Namaste and meow!