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Cat Yoga: Mindful Moments With Your Feline

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Sports training at home with pets

Cat Yoga: Mindful Moments With Your Feline

Yoga can be a great opportunity for exercise, mindfulness, relaxation, stress relief, and more, depending on the type of yoga you opt to do. Have you ever considered doing yoga with cats, though? It might surprise you to learn that there are ways you can incorporate your cat into your yoga practice in a way that benefits both of you. There are some things you should know about introducing your cat into your yoga practice or even attending a cat yoga class, though!

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What Is Cat Yoga?

Cat yoga is exactly what it sounds like—introducing cats into the activity of yoga. There are different ways you can do this. Some people simply do yoga in a room while the cats do whatever they want, whether it’s playing, resting, or directly interacting with the participants. Some people choose to incorporate their cat into their yoga practice through a series of yoga poses and stretches that a cat can safely join.

Cat yoga is sometimes offered by yoga studios and gyms through partnerships with rescue organizations and animal shelters as a way to introduce participants to animals that need homes, but you can also incorporate your cat into your practice at home.

Woman practicing yoga and meditation at home sitting on yoga mat in lotus pose with her cat
Image Credit: Caterina Trimarchi, Shutterstock

What Are the Different Types of Cat Yoga?

You can incorporate cats into just about any type of yoga practice, from restorative and yin yoga to power yoga. It simply depends on how active of a participant you want the cat to be. The energy you give off during yin and restorative yoga practices may be appealing to cats since these types of yoga involve slow movements and holding poses for extended periods. Restorative yoga, in particular, often involves floor poses that are held for a few minutes at a time, so don’t be surprised if a cat opts to jump on you and take a cat nap!

More active forms of yoga, like power yoga and vinyasa, may be less appealing to cats because of the frequent movements. However, curious and playful kitties may opt to jump right into the action. When it comes to any form of cat yoga, it’s best to skip using your best yoga mat because you may end up with some claw marks on it.

If you’re interested in a form of yoga that involves physical movements involving your cat, it’s best to consult with a professional first. Although yoga poses for people to do with their pets are gentle and designed for safe movement of the anatomy of both parties, it can be easy to do these poses incorrectly without guidance.

Benefits of Cat Yoga

Doing yoga together will benefit you and your cat. Doing yoga together gives your cat an opportunity to choose how they want to interact with you while you work through your practice. Your energy and focus will appeal to your cat, who will likely insert themselves into your activity because they want your attention. Some forms of yoga require intense focus, which can make your cat a major distraction, but if you aren’t actively working through a mindfulness exercise, then interacting with your cat throughout your practice can provide both of you with a boost.

Interacting with pets has been proven to reduce stress in humans, as well as reducing the risk of conditions like hypertension and high blood pressure. Doing relaxing activities together can also improve the bond between the two of you. Gentle and calm interactions are likely to build trust between you and your cat, increasing their feelings of safety and both of your feelings of affection toward each other. By interacting with your cat during yoga through physical touch, you’re providing both of you with stress relief and a positive bonding experience.

Cat yoga events put on to bring awareness to cats that need homes also have the obvious benefits of increasing the visibility of homeless pets and helping get them into forever homes.

Yoga fitness with funny pet concept
Image Credit: fizkes, Shutterstock

Disadvantages of Cat Yoga

The disadvantages of cat yoga are few and far between. You can expect some scratch marks on your yoga mat, and if the cats around you are particularly playful, you might end up with your toes or ponytail being attacked. The presence of felines during yoga may be distracting, so it may not be the ideal situation for mindfulness exercises, although meditating with your cat is also possible!

If you choose to do yoga that involves physical poses and stretches for you and your cat, the obvious disadvantage is that many cats have a low tolerance for certain types of touch. Whether they don’t like being picked up or don’t like certain parts of their body touched, it can be a fine balance to find a physically interactive yoga practice to do with your cat.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get Started With Cat Yoga?

Getting started with cat yoga is really simple! If you’re looking for a cat yoga event, simply check the offerings from yoga studios and gyms around you. You may also check coffee shops, breweries, and other spaces that may allow pets to visit. If you’re hoping to get started at home, all you have to do is allow your cat to show their curiosity about what you’re doing while you’re in your yoga practice. If your cat is interested in joining in on your practice in some form, they’ll make it known to you.

Who Can Teach Me How to Perform Yoga Poses With My Cat?

If you’re interested in doing stretches and poses with your cat, you’ll need to find someone who specializes in this subject. Some certified yoga teachers with special training are a good option, as well as animal physiotherapists who can help teach you safe stretching and movement for your cat.

The book Yogi Cats by Paige Hodges is also a great resource for helping you find the best starting point and safest ways to incorporate your cat into your yoga practice.

tabby cat lying on the lap of a woman reading a book
Image Credit: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock

What Should I Do if My Cat Is Distracting Me?

It can be distracting to have a cat around during your yoga practice, especially if they’re noisy or playful. If you’re interested in cat yoga, then you have to accept that the distraction of a cat is simply part of the process. Over time, you’ll learn how to hone your focus appropriately to get through your practice while still incorporating your cat in the activity.

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Cat yoga is beneficial for you and your cat, and for rescues and shelters, it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase their available cats. Check the events in your area for cat yoga classes. To add your cat into your home yoga practice, just let them into the area where you do your yoga and allow them to begin participating and interacting on their own terms. Forcing your cat to participate in yoga, however, can be stressful for them and lead to a negative experience for both of you.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: larisa Stefanjuk, Shutterstock

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