New year’s fitness resolution flagging?
Try yoga with cats
Yoga is about being in the moment.
And nobody does that like a cat.
In recent years Portland area cat lovers have been able to see this truth in action, at yoga with cats classes offered at Purringtons Cat Lounge (home of the Meowmosa), and Animal Aid shelter for homeless pets.
Yoga with cats adds furry charm, zenful energy and playfulness to the feel-good factor of your practice. You might call it Meowga.
The experience has plenty of spontaneity. One cat might play-target a ponytail while another skitters across the gleaming studio floor around the mats. Still another feline drapes across a human outstretched in downward dog while another’s voice accompanies the instructor’s. Across the way a 20-lb furball lounges on a student’s chest. Whatever they’re up to, you can be sure that for cat lovers, felines take the zen of yoga to new heights.
Behind the fun, those hosting the classes hope that people drawn to them might just be moved to adopt a homeless kitty. Rescue professionals say that seeing cats outside the shelter environment makes it easier for people to envision them as home companions.
And whether you’re a beginner or advanced yoga student, instructors at both locales make classes enjoyable and accessible for all.
At Purringtons, both kitties and people “absolutely love it,” says owner Kristen Castillo. “It’s nice and quiet, and if there are any shy kitties hanging out in the back room they will often come out just to see what’s up. The cats always love visitors, and there is always an emotional benefit from being in the presence of cats.”
Rachelle Grant and her daughter caught a Purringtons cat yoga class while visiting from Vancouver BC.
“It was awesome,” says Rachel Grant. “It was a highlight of our trip. My daughter and I try to find cat cafes or cat rescues when we travel, and this was so much fun. We fully expected to like the cats, and we were so pleasantly surprised to love the yoga class too. The teacher was excellent, and her assistants were "purrfect". I wish all my yoga classes had cats!”
Animal Aid’s monthly yoga class is held at “our main free-roam cat room, which holds the largest number of our adoptables,” says Paige O'Rourke, Animal Aid Director of Operations. “Our kitties definitely get curious when they see the yoga mats roll out. Some like to roam around, weaving between participants as they hold their various poses. Others plop right down on the mats and make themselves at home. Of course, some observe from a distance.”
After class there’s time for playtime and visits with kitties throughout the shelter.
“Regardless of skill level, everyone is brought together by their love of cats and their desire to enjoy their company,” O’Rourke says. “Their participation directly benefits homeless animals by helping pay for their daily care needs, including high-quality food, medications, and vet checkups.”
Yoga with Cats at Animal Aid
Find your center (and a little cat hair) by joining adoptable kitty Harriet (a yoga and parkour champ) and her friends at the Animal Aid shelter for Yoga with Cats! taught by Yoga NW instructor Bonny Chipman. Guests should take a mat and arrive at the shelter at 11:45am. Next class Feb. 18 noon-1pm. Preregistration required, space is limited.
Animal Aid 5335 SW 42nd Ave Portland | 503-292-6628 | animalaidpdx.org
Purr Yoga at Purringtons Cat Lounge
Cat Yoga started shortly after Purringtons’ opening in January 2015. Sessions run 6:30-7:30pm; with a half hour to hang out with the kitties. Teachers Alicia Johnson and Heather Klawender.
Drop in? You MIGHT luck out. “It depends. If we have an opening, we happily welcome walk-ins and have a few yoga mats for those who show up sans their own mat,” Castillo offered.
Purringtons 3529 NE Martin Luther King Blvd | 503-334-3570 | purringtonscatlounge.com
Christy Caballero writes from the heart about all things pet-related, from a couple deer trails off the beaten path, typically juggling a cat (or two) on her lap as black kitty AsTar teeters on her shoulder and Mojo the retired Greyhound quietly calls for reinforcements!!