There have been two major questions on my thoughts earlier than taking my first cat yoga class: Would the cats do yoga with us? And would we maintain them up, Simba-like, as we switched from downward canine to a solar salutation?
As it seems, the reply to the primary query is “yes.”
The adoptable cats at Tiny Lions Lounge and Adoption Center, 5245 Jackson Rd. in Ann Arbor, roamed freely as yoga teacher Lisa Norgren led the mild one-hour class I attended. The cats typically crawled onto attendees as we lay in youngster’s pose or wandered beneath our stomachs as we piked up into downward canine. Sadly, the reply to my second query was “no” – though patrons of Tiny Lions are inspired to play with and work together with the cats, the employees asks that you simply not decide the cats up or contact their stomachs.
Tiny Lions, a challenge of the Huron Valley Humane Society (HSHV), is a singular area for cat lovers of every kind. The concept for the “cat cafe” was impressed by the recognition of comparable institutions in Japan and many different Asian and European nations, in line with Wendy Welch, director of communications for HSHV.
“We’ve been space-constrained at our main shelter for awhile,” she says. “People have been wanting to do more, and of course we always want to expand our adoption numbers. So everything just seemed to come together with this solution.”
Tiny Lions is open six days every week for patrons to return in and learn, work, or simply play with the cats. Yoga courses are held on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings for a $10 drop-in charge per class. Holding yoga courses at Tiny Lions was additionally an concept that Welch and her colleagues received from cat cafes elsewhere on the earth.
Norgren, who has been educating cat yoga at Tiny Lions because the courses started a yr and a half in the past, wasn’t positive at first how yoga and cats would combine, since yoga is usually a quiet, aware apply. But she’s loved what the cats deliver to her periods.
“There’s not usually a lot of laughter in yoga practice,” she says. “And typically cats do actually foolish issues.”
Norgren recollects feline hijinks that occurred whereas a number of class attendees have been struggling to carry a tree pose.
“This cat had been climbing on the wall and simply bit it,” she says. “And it was like, ‘See? Everyone struggles typically!'”
Doing yoga with cats provides people who could be considering adopting an opportunity to work together with cats in a extra pure method than adoption facilities sometimes supply.
“I really like that yoga right here provides individuals the prospect to see the cats’ personalities extra fairly than simply strolling in and making an attempt to get a cat to play with you,” she says.
It’s clear that some of the common yoga practitioners at Tiny Lions have favourite cats, greeting them by identify as they enter and engaging them over with toys. Multiple yogis have ended up adopting cats from the cafe after partaking with them throughout a couple of weeks of yoga.
Welch says HSHV is “thrilled” with the success of each the cat cafe and cat yoga. The yoga courses are sometimes full or near it, and lots of of cats have been adopted from Tiny Lions since it opened. In reality, the HSHV is so happy with the cats which have discovered houses by way of the cafe that Tiny Lions shows the up to date adoption quantity on the entrance door every week.
Yoga courses are set to proceed for the foreseeable future, and Welch and her colleagues are engaged on extra packages to host at Tiny Lions.
“There have been tons of research which were accomplished just lately particularly on the consequences that cats have on our health,” she says. “It’s been proven that their purrs scale back our coronary heart price and that simply being round them makes us happier.”
Elizabeth Pearce is an Ann Arbor resident. In addition to Concentrate, she often contributes to Pulp.
All photographs by Doug Coombe.