Yoga has been taken to the next level in St. Charles County. Yoga-lovers can take a class with cats or strap themselves to a wall to improve a pose.
Five Acres Animal Shelter has invited its resident kitty cats to participate in monthly yoga classes called Cat Yoga.
Lauren Borgmeyer, development director at Five Acres Animal Shelter, had originally seen Cat Yoga on Facebook done in Canada.
“I knew as soon as our kitty cottage construction was completed I wanted to start doing it,” said Borgmeyer. “Our building opened in June 2016, and we had our first class that September. The response was great, and after a year we had so many inquiries for evening classes we started offering an additional class in the evening.”
Cat Yoga is simply yoga with the adoptable cats at Five Acres Animal Shelter.
“Guests bring their own mat and follow an instructor that is donating their time,” said Borgmeyer. “We let the cats decide if they want to participate. Whoever is available for adoption and able to free roam can participate if they want.”
While none of the yogis have returned to adopt the kitties yet, many have returned to the shelter to volunteer.
“Yoga is a great way to relax and treat your mind and body, but it’s also a fantastic workout for anyone, no matter your abilities. Add in some adorable cats, and it’s even more enjoyable,” said Borgmeyer.
Sometimes yoga classes can be very serious and quiet—not Cat Yoga.
“We won’t judge if you giggle when a cat zooms through your downward dog or if you pause to snap a picture of a cat laying on your mat,” said Borgmeyer. “Cat Yoga is all about fun and it’s all about the cats!”
Cat Yoga sessions are beginner classes, and anyone is welcome.
“We do ask that anyone between the ages of 13 and 15 comes with an adult,” said Borgmeyer.
Five Acres Animal Shelter offers Cat Yoga classes the first Monday of every month in its Katy Favre Kitty Cottage. The cost is $12 per person and reservations can be made online at www.fiveacresanimalshelter.org/events.
“We use the free roaming area in our shelter and push aside all towers, beds, etc. so we can fit up to 16 guests,” said Borgmeyer. “We would love to do yoga or Pilates with dogs, but right now we do not have the facility to do that. If we could visit a studio offsite to offer those classes, that would be fantastic! We are always looking to partner with local business and animal lovers.”
Jane’s House of Well Being in St. Charles offers Wall Yoga where participants can deepen their poses utilizing a belt which is attached to a wall.
“The belts support the students and places the joints into an aligned position to deepen the stretch as well as give the students the opportunity to feel the resistance and enjoy the time held in postures,” said Robin Buck, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, Director of Jane’s House of Well Being.
Wall yoga provides resistance as the body weight moves away from the wall into the belt and so it creates a “traction” to the joints.
“It counterbalances the force of gravity, inversions support the return of blood flow to the heart in a way that doesn’t work in normal day to day routine,” said Buck. “It also makes most students aware of places that they can collapse in without the resistance, it teaches a new felt relationship to better alignment.”
While the class has been offered since 2009, Buck said it’s gaining more attention and once it is experienced, students love it. The class, which is open to all levels of yoga-lovers, is held on Wednesdays at 9:15 a.m.
“You can also find it being used in some of the All-Levels practices or on request in smaller classes,” said Buck. “It’s good for all ages. It is great for people who have a fear to overcome!”
New Students are offered two weeks of unlimited classes at Jane’s House of Well Being for $20. Beyond that, class cards—that have a one-year expiration date—are available for 5 classes for $60 or 10 classes for $108. Students can also purchase an unlimited 30-day card for $92. There are no membership fees, and Jane’s House offers student and senior discounts.
For more information on Wall Yoga, or other yoga options, visit www.janeshousestudio.com.
For more information on Five Acres Animal shelter, visit www.fiveacresanimalshelter.org