Guest post by Paige Guthrie Hodges
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades you’ve no doubt heard about the benefits of yoga. Our overall health and well being can thrive with a regular yoga practice, but did you ever stop and ponder how your feline friends can reap the rewards as well? Just the mere possibility is enough to make one roll out the yoga mat and start practicing some serious downward facing cat poses!
Cats are the ultimate yogis and they certainly don’t need us to mentor them in the art of relaxation, meditation, or how to stretch their bodies. They do, however, need us to create the ideal home environment so we can support them in being the little yogis they were meant to be.
Yoga is the purr-fect practice for investing in you while also benefitting Kitty at the same time. I’ve been practicing yoga and living with cats for over two decades. This is what I have discovered about yoga and how it has benefitted me and the felines who have allowed me to be part of their beautiful adventurous lives.
Yoga helps us improve our overall health and gives us a better outlook on life. Habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and eating too much junk food begin to lose their appeal. Our stress levels lessen and the stress we do have is suddenly easier to manage. The cats in our lives benefit as well because happy, healthy humans have more to give, which translates into giving the finest of care to the felines we serve. If you’re a stress ball wound up tighter than Kitty’s favorite ball of yarn, then how must that affect her? Less stressful human equals less stressful feline!
Yoga aids us in becoming more flexible in both body and mind. Those pesky aches and pains often lessen as well. A flexible, durable body can come in handy for fetching toys from under the stove and other hard-to-reach places. If you can’t touch your toes how can you keep Kitty’s litter box spick-and-span and up to her standards? And don’t forget the labor involved when you must coax kitty into the carrier for a trip to the vet. Cats can require a lot from us physically and we must be up to the task of keeping up with them!
Yoga makes you more intuitive to your own body and the bodies of those in your care. A sharp sense of intuition can help you anticipate your cat’s needs more readily. Emerging health problems can be spotted quicker and might even save Kitty’s life if nipped in the bud right away. Cats also appreciate it when we anticipate their desires for treats and catnip without them having to ask!
Yoga helps us develop a sense of humor. Yoga may not make us completely oblivious to all the hurdles that come our way but it can help us more easily handle life’s trials and tribulations with humor and grace. Keeping a sense of humor is especially important when Kitty jumps up onto a “no-no “place for the 100th time in a row or keeps pooping on the bed for no apparent reason. Felines who wake us up at 4 a.m. when they know good and well that feeding time is 6 a.m. is another reason to keep your cool by letting out a little chuckle instead of blowing your stack!
Yoga helps us sleep better. Sleeping is under-rated in our fast-paced society that encourages us to flaunt our exhaustion as if it were some badge of courage. Yoga can aid us in sleeping better; if you don’t believe me, why not take a cue from the little master yogis themselves. I have yet to meet a cat who had insomnia or didn’t sleep well. Cats have a robust yoga practice and are living proof that yoga will help you sleep well! Kitty will sleep well whether you do or not but she will sleep much better knowing you are too!
Meow and Namaste!
Paige Guthrie Hodges, along with her feline yogi companion, Pippy, is the author of the blog Feline Yogi and the creator of the Feline Yogi Yoga Mat for cats. She has been practicing yoga and living with cats for over two decades. She has worked and volunteered for several local Los Angeles-based cat welfare organizations. An advocate of Trap Neuter Return (TNR), she is passionate about ending the killing of healthy, treatable animals, and finding homes for all adoptable pets.
Photo ©Paige Guthrie Hodges, used with permission