Archive for January, 2009

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Yoga with Cats

8 January, 2009

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a system of exercises which originated in India about three thousand years ago.  Its benefits include physical and mental (and some say, spiritual) well-being.  

What is Yoga with Cats?  (Surely you mean Yoga FOR Cats?)

Yoga with Cats is a system of exercises which originated when cats were first domesticated and started sharing a space with humans.  It is therefore probably older than three thousand years old.  Its benefits include learning how to cope with sleep deprivation and feline well-being. 

It is NOT the same as Yoga for Cats which is what cats naturally do when they lick their bums or stretch and arch their backs after a refreshing sleep.  Their innate flexibility and grace is what makes cats natural yogi gurus and the perfect teachers for Yoga WITH Cats.

What equipment do I need for Yoga with Cats?

You need very little equipment for Yoga with Cats!  Just yourself, a bed and a cat or cats.  Since you already probably already have a bed and cat/cats, there is very little expenditure involved! 

The size of the bed and the number of cats are the main factors determining how far you can advance in Yoga with Cats.  In general, a beginner should start out with a king-sized bed and one cat.  Progressing to two or more cats should only be done when you have mastered the basic one-cat series of poses. 

If you have a smaller bed then beware!  You may end up performing catsspace2Yoga with Cats on the edge of the bed or on the floor.  Neither is comfortable and not recommended for beginners.

Does it matter what size cat I have?

Yes.  With small breeds like the Singapura you can fit more cats on a bed and experience very quickly group exercises.  With the larger breeds like Maine Coons you would be wise to start off with one cat. 

Do I need special yoga wear for Yoga with Cats?

Yoga with Cats can be performed in your pyjamas or whatever you sleep in.  However, if currently nothing comes between you and your duvet but skin, it is advisable that you invest in some pyjamas to avoid any problems when encountering the Cat Claw asana.

What is the advantage of Yoga with Cats over conventional Yoga?

Yoga with Cats is done while you are asleep.  That’s right.  While you are deeply asleep, your body relaxes and forms itself into positions to accommodate the cat who is sharing your bed.   As you can see, it is a very natural form of yoga.  Because it is done while lying down it does not require as much effort as conventional yoga. 

After a few nights of practice, your body effortlessly assumes positions never achieved before thanks to the gentle guidance of your cat tutors.  Thus Yoga with Cats works more deeply than conventional yoga, on the subconscious level.  Because of this, results are often quicker and last longer.

Furthermore, there is no need to set aside special time for practice – Yoga with Cats can be done every night!

What sort of asanas will I learn in Yoga with Cats?

Asanas means pose or posture. 

One of the basic asanas is  Adho Supta Marjari (trans. Sanskrit for Downward Reclining Cat.  Marjari = cat).  In this pose, your body lies face downwards on the bed. 

Downward Reclining Cat leads naturally into another basic pose – simapatrikonadasanaSimapatrikonadasana (= Lion Triangle Legs). 

When a cat discovers you are lying on your back (or front) it assumes a position between your legs and curls itself into the shape of a ball.  This ensures that your legs form a triangle (trikona) shape and your hip joints open up.  Any attempt to persuade the cat to sleep longways and not curled up usually come to nothing.  After several hours any discomfort is assuaged by the knowledge that you are keeping your cat warm and snug!

Then there is pranayama (or breathing exercises) that yoga is famous for.  Breath control takes on a new dimension with a 10-lb cat asleep on your chest or stomach! 

More advanced asanas require greater strength and patience.  Once your yoga cats are confident that you are able to sustain a pose for a length of time without tossing or turning, they will be prepared to share with you the further mysteries of Yoga with Cats.

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