It’s 2016 — and for me and my husband Steve, it’s the year of getting fit. We set out this year with high ambitions of swimming, cycling and maybe even barre classes. But we very quickly discovered those activities weren’t our speed. We were looking for a way to build both mind and body, AKA get stronger and catch a little bit of zen. Plus, we really wanted something that allowed us to spend time together as a family — the whole family (me, Steve and our two cats Zoe and Charlie).
A friend mentioned we should try yoga. Not *just* yoga, but CAT yoga. Initially I was skeptical. I mean honestly, can cats stand still that long?!? But three sessions in, we honestly couldn’t get enough. Now we’re practicing cat yoga five days a week. Interested in giving it a try? Here are a few of our favorite poses to get started.
Cat Stuck in Tree Pose: It’s best to start simple, because you’ll want to ease your cats into the yoga experience. Tree pose allows you to warm up, get your balance and cuddle with your kitty in the process. We promise cats LOVE this one.
Warrior 2: Next up, a classic yoga fave, Warrior 2. This one requires less direct participation from the cats. We allow them to practice their own flexibility. In this case we brought out their favorite toy (a pipe cleaner) to play with during the pose.
Upward Facing Dog + Cat: Now, this might be the most complicated pose in cat yoga. Have your partner pose in upward facing dog while you carefully balance a cat on their back. It’s incredibly challenging to get the cat in position, BUT once you nail it, the cat connection is undeniable.
Cat on Plank on Plank: This is the most integrated and inclusive position you’ll try. It allows the whole family to get strong and zen together. To start, you or your partner should plank on your mat, then the other planks directly on top. From there, you summon your cat over and instruct them to jump on top and lie down. We recommend holding the pose for at least three minutes.
Cat Squared and Cow: Now for a more meta pose. If you’re familiar with yoga, you likely already know the cat and cow pose. It’s a great way to stretch your back and shoulders. When your cat sits on your back, it adds extra weight that pushes you into a deeper stretch. It’s also a great way for your cat to practice balance.
Well, that’s all folks. If you’re looking for a creative way to work out with your whole family, give cat yoga a try. Honestly, just a few sessions in and I’m purrrrrrr-ty sure you’ll be hooked.
PS: If you were curious, our two cats were named for Zoe Bartlet and Charlie Young. If you can name the TV show that includes both of these characters — you’re my hero.
What’s your favorite yoga — or cat yoga — pose? Let us know on Twitter.