Our team member Meghan gives four reasons why she stopped shooing her cat Declan off her mat, and embraced his presence in her home practice!
1. Kitties do a mean Adho Mukha Svanasana.
The pose might be named after “man’s best friend”, but cats are experts at downward dog! Declan reminds me that this pose is a great way to release tension in my spine, fully open my shoulders, and give my hamstrings, calves, and foot arches a nice wide stretch. Animals really do seem to know the best rejuvenating stretches.
2. Furry friends encourage smiles during practice.
We all know what it’s like to get lost in a challenging or complicated pose. Maybe all your attention is centered on not falling over or maybe trying to unlock the tension of a joint. Without realizing it your brow starts to furrow, your jaw begins locking up, and your lips have pursed into a straight line. Looking into my cat’s face causes me to smile, relieving jaw and facial tension that sometimes accompanies a difficult posture.
3. Cats have been shown to decrease anxiety and depression.
I got my fur-baby when I was in college and dealing with a chronic illness. His snuggles bring brightness to some of my cloudier days. Years before getting my cat, I turned to yoga after realizing my medical treatment wasn’t addressing the whole of my health. Enjoying the two together feels like the ultimate act of self-care!
4. Purring has physical healing benefits.
Cats purr within a range of 20-140 Hz (vibrational frequency). There is evidence that vibrations in this range promote bone strength and heal muscles, tendons, and ligament injuries. Cat purrs are also linked to decreased symptoms of dyspnea (shortness of breath) as well as infections. Turns out my cat is good for my body too!
5. My cat keeps my home practice honest and focused.
As much as I love coming into the wonderful studio at Yoga Seed, it has been my goal to foster a deep home practice. But as many of us who are just starting a home practice know, it can be hard to set aside domestic distractions (phones, laptops, chores, roommates, etc.) and focus. There’s no multitasking when you’re sharing a mat with your kitty because letting your mind wander might result in an unwelcome foot-tail collision! Declan keeps my mind focused on the “here and now” of my home practice.