Attendees of Yoga at Connie's in Illinois recently had the rare opportunity to practice their "cat/cows" and other poses next to actual cats. In collaboration with the nearby no-kill Homeward Bound Pet Shelter, the studio hosted a yoga class with adoptable cats roaming around and playing with the yogis. The class raised over $500 for the shelter and even landed one of the cats in a loving home. June is adopt-a-cat month, and shelter volunteer Jeanette Skaluba, who came up with the idea, told The Dodo that the event's goal was to encourage people to adopt cats:
A lot of people find shelters depressing, so they're not inclined to visit... By taking the cats to something like a yoga class, people have the opportunity see and interact with them outside the shelter. 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.
Connie Pease, who taught the class, said the cats were star students: "If you're doing yoga, they enjoy it too. That's the reason we put the yoga and the cats together. They're just ideal companions." Not to mention, the class produced some pretty unique yoga poses. Here are some positions from the class that you can only do with cats (with my own unofficial names):
1. Downward Cat
This is my term for a downward dog with a cat hanging out underneath — specifically, a cat named Breezy who is now at Pet Smart.
2. Child-With-Pet Pose
Chloe, currently available for adoption on Petfinder, demonstrates a pose for those who want to add a little oomph to the classic child's pose.
The cat/cow pose involves arching and unarching your back while on hands and knees; the cat/cat pose challenges your balance by having you reach out to pet a cat in this position.
4. Furward Fold
Chloe is at it again. The tricky part of this pose is getting out of it.
5. Ardha Purrdmasana
Pippen, a ragdoll who was just adopted, fits perfectly into Erin's half-lotus. (For it to be a real half-lotus, she'd have to have a foot on her knee, but work with me.)
Here's the full video of the class, in case you need more detailed instructions for you and your cat's workout: