relaxation

Conscious Cat Sunday: The Art of Relaxation, Feline Yogi Style

yoga cat mat pose

Guest post by Pippy

People often ask me “Pippy what is your secret for always being so relaxed and calm while running a yoga cat mat business and keeping your humans in line?” First of all, I am a cat and by nature we are relaxed and calm. For those of you of the human species, it will take a bit more work, but I am happy to share some of my secrets. I am after all a Feline Yogini and this is my area of expertise!

I practice yoga poses and breathing exercises several times throughout each day on my Yoga Cat Mat.

Pippy having dinner
I make time for tasty nutritious meals and do not distract myself while eating. This means no web surfing, watching t.v. or particiapting in mundane conversations like the state of the weather.Continue Reading

Review: The Feline Yogi Mat

cat_yoga_mat

I’ve always felt that cats and yoga make for a purr-fect combination, which his why I was delighted when I discovered Feline Yogi, a blog with the tagline “Celebrating the Most Enlightened Species – the Cat!” Feline Yogi is brought to you by Pippy, a feline yogini who has her paws full to keep her humans in line: “They spend an obscene amount of time in front of their computers,” says Pippy, “when they could be taking care of my needs.” Pippy’s human Paige says she’s doing her best to be at the beck and call of any feline needs that may arise, while still making time for her own yoga practice – something she’s been focused on for over 20 years.

Paige is also the creator of the Feline Yogi Mat. Over the past two decades of practicing yoga, Paige found that inevitably, when she brought out her yoga mat, all her cats would immediately plop themselves smack in the middle of the mat, leaving no room for her. She decided that the cats needed their own mat.

We received a Feline Yogi mat for review. I couldn’t wait to seeContinue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Yoga for you and your cat

cat_on_yoga_mat

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. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Rest

yoga_cat

Guest post by Angie Bailey

No one has to remind a cat to get plenty of rest. When kitty feels tired, she drops what she is doing, curls up and relaxes or dozes until her body feels ready to resume activity. Felines are masters at listening to subtle mental and physical cues. In a world where more is better, most humans still have a difficult time jumping off life’s treadmill and getting the rest their bodies require. Rest doesn’t always mean sleep (although sleep is very important); rest means taking both mental and physical breaks from activity.

I have always had the tendency to go-go-go and then fall into an exhaustive zombie state at the end of the day. I sometimes feel like if I don’t get everything done in a day, I am failing in some way. Sure, I usually accomplish a lot in a day, but at what cost? And who is telling me I “have” to check all the items on my to-do list? Me. I’m the one making the rules and I’m the one who gets to make moment-to-moment choices. As a longtime Type A personality, it’s been a challenge for me to loosen up a bit and consciously build downtime into my day. I feel guilty and think, “I could be doing XYZ instead of reading a book or taking a nap.” The truth is, I always feel refreshed, in a better mood and more mentally alert when I’ve chosen to break from the mad rush of the day. I am undoubtedly grateful I made the choice.

Cats don’t even have to think, “Should I stop birdwatching and take a nap?” Continue Reading

Mood music for cats

soothing-music-for-cats

Playing soft music has been shown to reduce stress in humans and animals alike. Some feline behaviorists say that playing relaxing music can keep cats calm and even stop them from fighting with other cats in the same household. A recent study at Colorado State University is looking at how classical music can help make a veterinary visit less stressful and thus lead to better veterinary care for cats.

I recently came across a cd made especially for cats. Mood Music For Cats (And Cat Lovers) –  A Ball of Twine… Your Cat’s First CD is a collection of soothing tunes blending piano, harp and strings, with title tracks such as Tuna Sonata, Vet Visit Blues, and Catatonia.

The music is truly beautiful. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: just breathe

Just Breathe

Show me a good mouser, and I’ll show you a cat with bad breath. – Garfield

We take about 20,000 breaths a day. It’s such a natural thing that most of the time, we don’t give much thought to it – we just do it. And yet, many of us don’t know how to breathe properly.

Incorrect breathing can cause tension, exhaustion, and vocal strain. Most people are shallow breathers, using only the top portion of their lungs, thus causing the body to miss out on the full benefits of a deep breath. Deep breathing raises levels of blood oxygen and promotes health in ways ranging from stimulating the digestive process to improving fitness and mental performance.

Cats know naturally how to breathe correctly. Continue Reading

Research Says Cats Have Healing Powers

tabby cat sunset

Guest post by Liz Eastwood

Believe it or not, our sweet-bundles-of-fur are probably saving us a bundle in medical bills.

This is another reason I’m into natural cat care—not only is it more ecological and vet-bill preventative, but our cats contribute so much to our well-being that we want to give them more life-extending love. Wait til you hear all this!

While cats in particular have healing powers, research on pet companionship in general is also impressive.

According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year. The research found that people with pets:

  • need fewer visits to their doctor each year
  • have fewer sleeping difficulties
  • are less likely to need heart condition medicine

I was really excited about some research I found on cats in particular.

Cats may reduce heart attack risk by 40%

While a study showed that both cats and dogs  reduced stress-related blood pressure more than ace inhibitor medication, a study at the University of Minnesota found that cats in particular may reduce your chances of a heart attack by 40%.

The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40% higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30% greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat.

I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia many years ago. That’s a crazy erratic, racing heartbeat that happens periodically in varying degrees of intensity and threat.

I did not have a cat at the time. A bit later I lived with cats again and a bit later I stopped having arrhythmia. Didn’t think much of it.

Fast forward many years to when my only cat, Bastet, was dying. I started having bouts of terrible heart arrhythmia symptoms. After she died it got worse–and by worse I mean nearly constant.

It stopped the day we brought home two new purring youngsters named Phil and Joel. The arrhythmia disappeared that day and hasn’t returned since. Were there other factors that may have affected my heart arrhythmia in these cases? Probably. But the timing of the healing was uncanny.

What’s at the root of a cat’s healing power?

There’s certainly some mystery as to exactly how cats and dogs manage to be good for our health. So far my investigation has uncovered these research nuggets about the healing power of kitty cats:

  • Stress symptoms are lowest in people with cats

In a study by Dr. June McNicholas, stress symptoms were lowest in cat owners, second lowest in dog owners, and highest in people without pets.

  • Purring heals—a lot of things!

The Fauna Communications Research Institute found that every cat in their study created purr vibrations within the range that is medically therapeutic (20-140 Hz) for:

  • bone growth and healing
  • pain relief
  • swelling reduction
  • wound healing
  • muscle growth and repair
  • tendon repair
  • joint mobility
  • dyspnea (shortness of breath) relief

Wow!

Other good news about having an animal friend at home

Well, this has been humbling!

Excuse me while I go see what Phil and Joel are up to.

Liz Eastwood is a writer and holistic nutritionist and the author of the Natural Cat Care Blog where she shares tips, insights and the joy of soul companion cats.

Image: Morguefile

Meditating with Your Cat

Guest post by Stacia D. Kelly, PhD, MHt

My husband thinks it makes for a funny picture whenever I sit down to meditate. In our house, I usually have a cat or two as I sit cross-legged on the couch in my lap or somewhere nearby purring happily and meditating right along with me. Of course, said husband also freely admitted a week or so back that our girl Bella laid right down on his chest while he was listening to a Nancy Georges hypnosis session – shame on him for not listening to one of mine! 😉

Bastien, our youngest rescue, is learning to be a great hypnosis assistant. He’ll either curl up in my lap or next to my clients during a hypnotherapy session to settle right down for the 40 minutes or so, purring the entire time. And while he irritates his sister felines, Bella and Bijoux, since he’s so young, he is such a momma’s boy that he tries to do whatever I’m doing. If that means meditating, he’s right there with me. And, thankfully, my clients love him.

I wish I knew what’s going thru their minds when they curl up with me, but I know the soft purr and warm body only help to enhance my focus. Somehow, they just know the right spot and the right level to help you achieve that perfect moment of Zen.

Mine never interrupt; none of them ever have.

I’m not sure what the trigger is…the breathing, the music, the sudden calmness? Sagesse, an angel kitty now, was the only one who helped me through those late nights as a first time mom. She’d learned how to calm and meditate with me when she was a kitten, so, when I needed it most, she was right there next to me vibrating that same purr, in the same spot. She helped me make it through those first weeks. Gabe, our hunter, hit the same note when it was time for me to let him cross over. I wasn’t ready, but he was, and he let me know with that soft purr on just the right note.

So, how do you meditate with your cat? (I haven’t tried this with dogs, but please do and let us know the results!) Some are naturals…some require some guidance. Thankfully, mine have all gravitated right to it, but that may be because we make it such an intrinsic part of our household or it’s such a part of my nature, I only attract those who are inclined to be good about it too.

First, create a space for yourself that you are going to use consistently to meditate. This is a must, whether you’re trying to get your 4-legged to cooperate or not. It helps to set your subconscious up for success when you’re ready to sit down to focus. I use my couch and a cross-legged position. My body naturally falls into a receptive mode and starts to relax. My husband will meditate in bed and the cats are fine with it. (They refuse to participate if I’m in bed and meditating…instead I get the meows and the growls.) Wherever it is, make it consistent.

Next, start to introduce soft music when you’re out of the house, and they are more naturally at rest. Use harps, strings, nature sounds. Note: DO NOT USE music with BIRDS! They start stalking the CD player or the TV. I’ve watched it happen!

Next, use that same music they’ve been listening to during day for your relaxation/meditation sessions. You will see they start to quietly unwind and come to curl up next to you as your breathing evens out. Most will want to touch you in some way, so they may lie in your lap or next to you. Do NOT give in to to the need to acknowledge their presence. NO petting. If you must, lay a hand on them and keep it still. Remain focused on your meditation.

And, just breathe.

Open your eyes whenever you’re ready.

You can see our cat family at http://catklaw.com/kittens/ – this is our hidden yet dedicated site to all those who are familiar in our lives. I don’t post up often, but they are integral to our family.

For those interested in a Guided Meditation with their feline family members, please, post up! I’ll create one to share!

Stacia D. Kelly, PhD, MHt takes a whole mind-body-spirit approach to health and well-being and teaches her clients to do the same. She is the Mind-Body-Fusion Specialist. Breathe. Focus. Achieve. She is a Master Certified clinical hypnotherapist, a 1st degree black belt, and spends way too much time with her nose in a book. She writes paranormal romances with a very hypnotic style and tries to inject humor in all her non-fiction writing. She plays doorman (woman) to three cats while the young one is off to school and the husband is all over the state for either the day job or a band. Stacia is also the founder of CatKlaw, Inc., a Creative Solutions Company, and Mind-Body-Spirit Works, a Holistic Health Practice.

Stacia is offering one of her guided relaxations titled Relax Into Being as a free download.