Calgary·Video

Can cats do the downward dog? Feline yoga comes to Calgary

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.

Morning and evening classes include free loose-leaf tea or brewed coffee at Regal Cat Cafe

Watch Calgary cat yoga in action

5 years ago
Duration 0:49
Morning and evening cat yoga classes now take place at the Regal Cat Cafe in Kensington.

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.

The Regal Cat Cafe in Kensington has cat yoga classes multiple times a week, offering Calgarians a more playful spin on the practice, says cafe owner Tia Wieler. (Mike Symington/CBC)

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.

'[The cats] love the yoga mats and terrorize them when they come on by,' says Wieler. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"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."

'It's a little bit more distracting, but it's the fun kind of distraction,' says instructor Matthew Kelemen. (Mike Symington/CBC)

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

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