Cat Yoga: 5 Ways Including A Cat in Your Yoga Practice Benefits Your Mental Health
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Cat Yoga: 5 Ways Including A Cat in Your Yoga Practice Benefits Your Mental Health

Will

Posted on Oct 20, 2021 #yoga

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Don’t laugh! We’re for real.

If you’re not a cat person, are allergic to cats, or have a traumatic experience with felines, you can skip this article altogether. We totally understand!

However, whether you love cats or not, we’ve discovered some really interesting stuff about how including cats in your yoga practice benefits your mental and emotional health. Plus, cats themselves are way more therapeutic than people give them credit for!

While animal yoga – like goat yoga and horse yoga – seems to be a hot trend, we’re wary of buying into novelties where the actual practice of yoga is overshadowed by animals that may or may not cause injury.

As a matter of fact, cat yoga isn’t just good for you. It’s good for your cat too!

Here’s what we’ve discovered about this up and coming trend and how cat yoga is beneficial for you both.

Downward Dog Yoga Pose

1. Cats positively affect your psychological health

According to Healthline, cat owners already tend to have lower stress levels, lower resting heart rates, and are happier. Cats are also naturally calming, which carries over to their human counterparts.

That being said, cats also enjoy bonding with their owners just as much as the owners do with them. And bonding with animals is notoriously good for mental health.

Why?

Several reasons. Animals don’t judge us, talk down to us or talk negatively about us. They generally only require basic needs. And obviously, physical touching, petting, and snuggling releases feel good chemicals in both cat and human.  Also, cats tend to be very independent creatures, which makes them low maintenance.

Cats, in particular, also offer a natural source of healing in their purr. Purring releases endorphins in the cat, and studies have shown that the frequency of a cat’s purr actually contributes to physical healing in humans.

Now, combine the benefits of owning a cat with an activity like yoga (which also improves psychological health), and you get a double dose of endorphins! Plus, you and your cat get the benefits that come from physical activity.

2. Cats prioritize self-care.

While many animals are very efficient at self-care, cats are especially in tune with their basic needs. They can also be a good reminder for us to prioritize our self-care.

We’ve discussed a cat’s purr, but did you know that the frequency of their purr contributes to the growth and repair of their bones and muscles? Super cool! They also lick their fur not just to clean themselves, but to regulate body temperature and distribute the oils in their skin.

We’re not saying you should start purring or stop showering, but the way cats move and stretch is also a part of their selfcare. 

And that’s something they can remind us to do that we’re capable of! Plus, if you hadn’t noticed, there are at least several yoga poses who’s name is derived from cats.

Yoga is definitely a form of self care and, as it turns out, is even more beneficial to your physical, mental, and emotional health when you incorporate your furbaby friends!

3. Cat yoga gets you out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes, what affects our mental health the most isn’t the stressful situations (or days), the anxiety-ridden moments, or the emotional rollercoaster of life.

It’s the mundane.

Excessive boredom or repeated, boring tasks negatively affect the brain. Studies show that people who have high levels of boredom or don’t step out of their comfort zone and change up their daily routine suffer from higher levels of depression and anxiety.

As a matter of fact, boredom is actually detectable in brain activity on an EEG.

Here at MyYogaTeacher, we have a hard time ever getting bored with our yoga routine because there is such a huge variety of classes offered by so many different, amazing instructors. But we also don’t mind saying that cat yoga would definitely be outside of our comfort zone...in a good way!

Unlike other forms of animal yoga, cat yoga is still very safe, joyful, and fun!

Chakrasana

4. Cats naturally fit into a yoga practice.

Cats are constantly practicing yoga! 

They are not only intuitive comforters, cats are top-notch yogis. And they love stretching and moving in ways that we mere humans (for the most part) can’t.

Because yoga is an exercise that focuses on self awareness and bringing harmony to your inner and outer self, it makes sense that incorporating your already extremely self aware and flexible furry friends into your yoga practice will come naturally. 

If you’ve already practiced yoga around your cat, you may have noticed that he or she sticks around during your practice...maybe in ways that you don’t want, but still. Your furry friend is there.

That’s because cats intuitively recognize the calming effects yoga has on humans. They also recognize the movements. 

Cats are very intelligent animals. You may think involving your feline friend in your yoga practice will be stressful, but the truth is, the exact opposite is true!

5. Cats and yoga encourage us to slow down.

Cats are experts at meditation. It’s true!

They are very good at being mindful, and they tend to really enjoy life. Domestic cats can usually be found sitting or lying around watching the world go by, taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells or they’re playing, stretching, or running around.

Try meditating with your cat. You’ll probably find that your feline friend sits or lays right next to you as you spend time taming your thoughts.

Cats are also great at regulating their breath!

If you haven’t heard it from us already, breath is life. And yogic breathing is excellent for physical, mental, and emotional wellness. It reduces anxiety and depression, invigorates the mind and spirit, and literally brings life back to your body and soul.

Cats are very adept at breathing deeply and smoothly. And you’ll find that if you gently lay your hand on your kitty while you’re meditating, you’ll breathe right along with them. 

Slowing down is an important part of mental wellness. Incorporating cat yoga into your routine will bring awareness to the very important practice of slowing down.

Halasana Variation

While we don’t offer cat yoga at MyYogaTeacher, we do offer over 35+ different types of yoga classes that are not only challenging, but fun! Get your 2-week free trial here if you haven’t already tried us out and discover the benefits of yoga!

See you there!



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