MARIETTA, Ga. - Yoga lovers in Georgia are getting into downward-facing dog with the assistance of a few friendly cats.
The “Yoga With Cats” class has become a regular, sold-out feature at Good Mews Animal Foundation in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta in just a few months since it launched.
In each class, up to 15 humans spend an hour getting zen with a some of the shelter’s feline residents. A certified yoga instructor guides the beginner level classes as the cats roam freely around the room – often stopping for a little class participation or maybe a nap.
“The cats are so curious. They are all up in your business but not in a bad way,” said shelter manager Lisa Johns. “It is also a fun way for people to interact with the cats. The cats get attention and get loved on and the people are in a calming environment where they can practice yoga and hang out. All and all, it is a fun experience if you are into yoga and you are a cat person.”
Each class costs $20 – and since the instructor is a Good Mews volunteer who donates her time, all of the proceeds go toward care of the cats.
A few months ago, the creators weren’t so sure the idea would take off with the public. They heard about a shelter in California that did something similar and decided to give it a try.
“We are always trying to get new people into the shelter,” said board member, Nancy Riley. “We started our first class in July, and now people are coming back month after month. The people love it, but the cats really love it. It is so fun to watch them.”
In any given class, at least five of the 15 attendees have never been to Good Mews shelter before offering the organization valuable exposure to new people and the potential to find more homes for their cats.
Some of the cats have become yoga regulars, as well. Sampson, an orange tabby, has participated in every class, often getting into poses with humans. During corpse pose (savasana) at end of class, Sampson and his fellow felines take the invitation to lie across the chest of the nearest yogi.
For more information, visit goodmews.org.