Relax and restore with cat yoga

by Amy Renee
Relax and restore with cat yoga

Hi Friends! As you might already know, I teach an incredibly fun, stress-relieving yoga class with cats at the Cat Cafe Lounge. It is so AMAZING! People love it and so do the cats! Cat yoga is the purrfect thing for letting go of stress from the week and perhaps meet your new best friend at the same time!

BENEFITS OF YOGA

Yoga positively affects the body in a myriad of ways benefiting both the physical and mental bodies. Some of the physical benefits include improved posture and mobility, enhanced flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved balance and joint stability, increased ability to lose and maintain a healthy weight, improved respiratory and cardiovascular health, and increased energy levels.

The mental benefits of a regular yoga practice can truly change a persons life (it did mine!) and directly correlate with some of the physiological benefits since psychological conditions often manifest in the physical body. Increased stress, anxiety, depression, and other conditions affecting mood take a toll on the body. They contribute to back and neck pain, insomnia, headaches, substance abuse, and consequently overall happiness and wellbeing. When we practice yoga, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated to tell the mind and body to relax. We learn to breath deeper and slower and focus our thoughts (turn down the noise in the brain) to create a sense of calmness and serenity. A regular yoga practice teaches us how to slow the breath and think more clearly away from the mat as well, giving us the tools to better handle stress and anxiety associated with everyday life.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CATS

Receiving and reciprocating love and affection from cats (or any animal) stimulates the release of “happy” neurotransmitters such as endorphins in the brain and nervous system of both humans and animals. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that are responsible for emotions, and the ones released when we spend time with animals are associated with happiness, a sense of ease, and even reducing physical pain.

Combine the two (yoga and cats) and what you get is the ultimate relaxation response!

SLOW FLOW YOGA

There are many kinds of yoga including vinyasa flow, yin, restorative, Iyengar, Ashtanga, power…all providing benefits to the body and mind. Yin yoga could be the perfect choice for someone who needs to improve their flexibility. Iyengar is perfect for those looking to improve posture. While vinyasa flow is great for high-energy types who want it all. Restorative yoga focuses on using props and gravity to hold the body in relaxing poses that help the body move into its natural alignment. For example, using support under the shoulder blades and head at various heights while lying supine can help create space in the spine, chest, neck, and shoulders allowing for less pain and increased range of motion. This type of yoga uses props to help align the body.

Slow flow yoga is a form of vinyasa flow, but performed at a much slower pace. This type of practice teaches practitioners to SLOW DOWN – not only in their movements, but in their minds as well. In today’s fast-paced society we are often rushed in every thing that we do. We get stuck in that “rushed” state of mind, constantly having to get this done and be here and there and do this by that time…and so forth and so on…which creates an awful anxious state of constant rushing. So…we practice slowing down this rushed state of the mind by slowing down the body and the breath. And it works! Add cats to the equation, and voila! Stress be gone!

Register for a restorative cat yoga class here. We (myself and about 35 cuddly cats) can’t wait to meet you!

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