Many gyms are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. For many people, their usual yoga sessions are currently taking place in their own home. Some people are using the time to try out yoga for the first time with the help of online courses. Cat yoga is one of the newer trends that emerged in the last years. How does it work? We'll give you some tips!
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The cat as a yoga exercise
Graceful movements, strong body tension and casual relaxation – most cats effortlessly master these objectives of many yoga lovers. This is why one of the most famous yoga asanas, as we call certain yoga poses, is named after cats, since yoga fans in Europe know the Marjariasana pose as 'the cat'. This involves the student being on all fours with the wrists below the shoulders and knees below the hips. When exhaling, they arch their back upwards to form the cat pose and pull their chin to their chest. This brings to mind the 'cat's arch' that many felines make when they stretch after a deep sleep. The cat should have a similar effect in yoga and keep the spine supple. Indeed, the counterposition of the cat is the cow.
Doing yoga with cats
So you'd like to do yoga at home and have a cat? Great! Many yoga fans assume they can benefit from their cat's vibes, therefore some yoga studios specifically offer cat yoga. This doesn't mean that every participant takes their cat with them – wailing cats would soon ruin the relaxed atmosphere. Instead, a serene studio cat strides through the room. It observes the different positions with interest, lies down or serves as an example: either for its graceful stretching or for absolute relaxation. The cat decides this on a whim, because all yoga cats have a mind of their own. Particularly laid-back felines can act as an extra weight for certain lift poses. Make sure that your cat can't fall down and feels at ease. Since cats are self-sufficient yoga students, you can't actively involve them in exercises. This doesn't make any sense either. Although cats can master the downward dog, things will get tricky when it comes to the tree or pigeon pose.
Relaxation with cats
Young cats in particular will be curious if you sprawl on the floor in strange positions. Suddenly graceful movements and relaxation are no longer possible: your cat would rather play with your outstretched feet or sink its teeth into your yoga mat. What to do? We recommend inhaling, exhaling and staying firm! Don't pay your cat attention. Soon it will get bored of its attempts to distract you, allowing you to concentrate on your exercises again. Naturally your cat should be suitably stimulated and not hungry whilst you're relaxing. It's an exercise in relaxation for every yoga lover if your cat deliberately runs in front of your feet during the sun salutation or starts to kick flowerpots off the windowsill. Consider whether your cat may be bored? Lone cats living solely indoors often have too much excess energy. Possible alternatives are secured outdoor access or a second cat with a suitable personality.
Meditating with cats
Cats love dosing, be it stretched out or snuggled up. Hence, most cats are ideal companions for home office – at least well-trained cats. If you're typing away manically and have to meet deadlines, you'll recharge your batteries when looking at your curled-up cat. This works with yoga too. Purring cats are in harmony with their owner's breathing exercises and help them to relax. This works particularly well if you don't focus on your cat much, which allows you to bring even shy or reserved cats out of themselves with yoga. Meditating together strengthens the bond between you and your cat. Incidentally, some music that we humans find relaxing can be irritating for sensitive felines. If you wish to do yoga with music, consider whether you can make a suitable choice for your cat. Some four-legged yoga fans even have to get used to the sound of singing bowls.
Cat yoga: tips on yoga with cats
So you want to do yoga at home and your cat is there? Here is a summary of our tips for a relaxing session:
- Play with your cat beforehand
- Be consistent in ignoring requests to play during your yoga session
- Laidback cats make themselves cosy on a soft blanket next to you during many asanas
- Your cat won't relax? Valerian cushions, sniffing carpets or intelligence toys
- Choose relaxing music that you cat also enjoys.