Cats have been a part of yoga for quite some time, given the fact that there’s a pose named after them. But cats and yoga have become more entwined than ever over the last few years.
You can find photographs and memes with cats performing yoga poses. Photographer Dan Borris even created a calendar depicting cats in various yoga poses.
Some yoga mat designs have cats on them. The one pictured here was on my holiday wish list last year. Sadly, I didn’t get it, possibly because of the price point ($80), or the fact I don’t practice yoga. I would have started. Honest.
More recently, cats and yoga have become more literally connected. A spate of YouTube videos shows yoga practitioners exercising with their cats, the feline involvement ranging from merely hanging around to taking on an active role. In one now well-known video, kitty seems to want all the attention and isn’t very impressed with owner’s attempts to practice.
The hashtag #yogacats has close to 10,000 posts with a range of content. Instagram accounts like @yogawithcats have even dedicated themselves to personal experiences of practicing yoga with cats (full disclosure: on this account the practitioner’s dog makes occasional appearances). Other accounts feature women showing off a range of their yoga prowess, their cats either very participatory or seemingly not the least bit impressed. Which is to be expected. They are cats.
In a piece I wrote for CatChannel over the summer I learned yoga poses that can actually be performed with your cat (if he or she is amenable). I must admit I’ve yet to attempt these moves at home with my cats. Perhaps some entrepreneur should start marketing Kevlar yoga outfits for this explicit purpose?
And now, in a progression we perhaps should have expected, you can actually take yoga classes with cats. Several cat cafes and even one rescue group offer classes during which cats roam freely, participating to varying degrees.
Both Crumbs and Whiskers in Washington, D.C., and Meow Parlour in New York City offer yoga with cats. Decatur, Ill.,-shelter Homeward Bound came up with the concept of loaning their cats out to a local yoga studio not only so cat and yoga lovers could combine their two loves, but so potential adopters had another way of bonding with adoptable cats, and perhaps fall in love with one (or more!).
Jeanette Skaluba, the shelter’s social media contact, told Boston.com, “It gives these cats exposure and shows their personality. I think people can envision these pets in their home easier because they’re outside the shelter.”
Yoga can function as a fundraising conduit for cats even if they’re not present. First Step Fitness Gym in Long Beach, Calif., appealing to the audience that that loves both felines and yoga, offers special Sunday classes where 100% of the proceeds go to a local shelter.
What do you think of this recent trend? Do you practice yoga at home with your cats? Would you go to a yoga studio that offers classes with cats?