Can cats do the downward dog? Feline yoga comes to Calgary
Morning and evening classes include free loose-leaf tea or brewed coffee at Regal Cat Cafe
It's a yoga class where some participants completely ignore the instructor and opt to roll around au naturel, take a nap or even a bath, or climb on the participant nearest to them.
That's right. Cat yoga has arrived in Calgary.
The cats like to "show off" with their own take on stretching and bending, meaning you're likely to hear more laughter here than in a traditional yoga class, said Tia Wieler, owner of Kensington's Regal Cat Cafe.
Prepare to be distracted. The felines are known to splay about on others' yoga mats, happily oblivious to the impact they have on people's ability to hold their balance poses.
In some ways, the cats help remove some of the pressure and embarrassment that yoga newbies can sometimes feel, said class participant Kathryn Jeans.
Can't quite stretch that far? No one would expect you to, with that cat napping on your mat.
"Especially as a new person doing yoga, sometimes we get a little stressed [that] we're doing things wrong. But when you got a cat crawling on you, or smiling at you, or lying on your mat, it's pretty wonderful," Jeans said.
It's 'soul-nourishing, or something,' says instructor
Instructor Matthew Kelemen said the cats' playfulness and comfort with their own bodies creates a "profound lightness" that's immediately obvious in the cat-filled yoga studio.
"Spending some time in this environment, you kind of get it right away," he said. "It's like soul-nourishing or something."
The yoga plus cat combo is a popular one in cat cafes around the world, and Wieler said people have been asking her "from Day 1" to offer it at her shop.
Yoga participants hoping to recreate the cat-filled experience at their own home studio will be happy to know that the cats at the cafe are available for adoption through the MEOW Foundation.
With files from Mike Symington