Cat Yoga – Paws & Purrs For Health and Relaxation
According to Professor David Gordon White the practice of yoga has four main principles or areas of focus.
Yoga as meditation. Yoga is used as a corrective form of meditation. It can help to create pathways of self-discovery that assist with cognition and targeting warped or dysfunctional perception.
Yoga for consciousness. Yoga can be used to expand your consciousness, helping you to see your interconnectedness with all things.
Yoga and omniscience. Yoga as a path to a higher consciousness and omniscience, allowing you to grasp comprehension of the permanent and impermanent.
Yoga and the supernatural. While fringe practices are far removed from modern day yoga, some still believe that yoga can be used to attain the supernatural.
Enter cats… Literally. Some believe cats to be enlightened creatures, perhaps even bodhisattvas. In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattvas is a person, or in this case a creature, that could reach nirvana, but compassionately hesitates so they can spend more time saving the suffering.
If you’re suffering, a cat sure can inject a lot of happiness into your life. A cat might also help you reach a state of higher consciousness and enlightenment. Heck, just by watching a cat you can see Zen in action.
The Growth of Yoga, and Cat Yoga
Yoga is hot, and I’m not just talking about hot yoga. Over the course of the last seven years, Google is showing a dramatic increase in the number of yoga-related search terms. See below.
Searches for “women in hot yoga pants” aside, the popularity of yoga is exploding in the United States. The Yoga Journal, along with the Yoga Alliance, recently conducted a study on the growth of yoga. Here are some statistical gems they unearthed.
- In the United States, yoga participation has increased by 50%.
- In 2012, 20.4 million Americans participated in yoga. By 2016, that number had exploded to 36 million.
- 15% of Americans have performed yoga withing the last 6 months.
- At least one-third of Americans stated that they would like to try yoga within the upcoming year.
Yoga is becoming extremely popular with the over-50 crowd. Over the course of the last four years, participation in yoga has tripled within this segment of the population.
As with the rapid growth of any activity, fresh concepts and ideas are often grafted in. We now have hot yoga, cat yoga, and even beer yoga. Heck, this might be the most unbeatable yoga variation yet. Think about it.
Yoga pants. Beer. Sounds like a natural, and perhaps even perfect method of blowing off stress. But for those of us that believe beer and physical activity might not be a good combination, cat yoga might be the better option.
Or purrfect option, if you will.
Yoga studios are now partnering with animal shelters to offer this unique form of physical activity. You can currently find these studios in Texas, Illinois, New York, Louisiana, Michigan, and several other states. The concept is simple.
Studios are helping shelters raise money and increase adoptions.
Cat yoga is performed – wait for the obvious – with cats. These feline furballs are allowed to roam freely around the makeshift studio, mingling with practitioners as they so desire. It’s a fun and fantastic experience for both the humans and the cats.
The room is filled with spontaneous laughter, purring, and of course – petting. The cats fit in quite comfortably, bathing themselves under the downward dog, or rubbing cheeks against ankles during the warrior.
Even those that are allergic to cats are known to join the party. The experience brings too much joy to pass up.
The cost to join this cat yoga party is typically minimal, usually hovering around $10. It’s a win win for everyone. The shelter makes a few extra dollars, the cats and kittens have a blast, and occasionally a practitioner bonds with a feline bodhisattva and signs up for an adoption.
Cat yoga instructor Lisa Bass, on why the yoga is taken to the shelter instead of bringing the cats to class:
“I thought with people with allergies, it might be hard to clean up the studio afterward, so I thought, why not bring the class to the shelter?”
Classes have become a huge hit. Interest is exploding, and in most cases yoga studios have expanded their offerings of the cat yoga experience.Yoga practitioner Katie Misencik states, “It’s all about fun and is a little more relaxing. There’s not as much pressure to make my form perfect.”
Final Thoughts on Cat Yoga
Yoga is ripe with health benefits. It assists with flexibility, stress, blood pressure, anxiety, and even helps build core and back strength. It’s hard to take a good thing like this and make it better, but if you’re a cat lover, cat yoga accomplishes just that.
While there are no centralized cat yoga websites with available dates and times, not all hope is lost. Your best bet is to hit Google and search, “cat yoga dates” or “cat yoga locations.”