This new yoga trend is the cat’s meow

Imagine doing downward dog in a room full of cats.

Well, at the Washington, D.C., cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers, that cat lady fantasy is a reality.

Crumbs & Whiskers serves as a cat cafe during the week, but on Sundays, it offers two cat yoga classes. Sunday morning Vinyasa yoga gets started by 9:30 and at 7:30 p.m. they host a candlelit restorative yoga (with fake candles, of course, because of the cats).

So each weekend, excited cat ladies and cat fellows cram into an improvised studio on the second level of the cafe.

The cats, who are all up for adoption through the Homeward Animal Trails Rescue, quickly started exploring all the new humans in the room.

They climbed shelves, chased after toys and made themselves at home on everyone’s yoga mats.

But it’s not just fun and games.

The benefits of yoga 

Research from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) suggests yoga can improve a person’s overall fitness, relieving anxiety, depression and insomnia. It’s also said to help people to improve strength, flexibility and mind-body awareness.

Yoga instructor Megan Angelini said cats and participants benefit from cat yoga.  She said yoga in general really helps her concentrate on living in the present.

“I think that adding the cats is really great for that because the cats are always living in the present moment.”

—Megan Angelini

She added that it’s a lot less intimidating than your average yoga class because people are focused on the felines.

As for the cats, the Sunday yoga classes are another opportunity for them to be socialized with humans and their own feline companions. In the long run, this can help them get adopted.

Angelini said the cats react to the energy in the room and tend to calm down as the class moves into Shavasana, the final rest.

“During the yoga class, because the folks in the room are doing something else, I think it allows the cats to feel a little more relaxed and to explore the people instead of being the focus of attention all the time,” Angelini said.

The benefits of having pets

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), having pets may also have medical benefits.

Although there aren’t any studies on the benefits of cat yoga, the CDC says pets can help decrease a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol, while also reducing feelings of loneliness.

So it seems to be a win-win for all parties involved.

“Cat yoga is for every person, every body, every background — whether you’re flexible or not, whether you’re super active or not – as long as you’re not allergic to cats and you like them,” Angelini said.

Cat yoga costs $28 and is by appointment only. Anyone who wants to adopt a cat after taking the class can fill out an application right away. Crumbs & Whiskers will send the application to their partner rescue, which will contact the applicant for an interview. Once the application is approved the cats can go home to their forever family.

Crumbs & Whiskers has an average of four adoptions every week, but sometimes that number is higher.

And for all you folks on the west coast who are worried about missing out, Crumbs & Whiskers has a Los Angeles location too.

View the full story and video on Circa’s website.

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