The monthly “Yoga with Cats” class at the P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center on John Street in Camden Maine has been a big hit with people who like both yoga and cats.
“I’m pleasantly surprised at how well received Yoga with Cats is,” Shelley Butler, the executive director of P.A.W.S., said. “The therapeutic benefits of both petting the cats and yoga — well, it’s win-win.”
She said that the inspiration for the special class came last fall, after the president of the board of the no-kill, non-profit animal shelter saw a report on how yoga classes with cats have become popular in shelters in other states that are looking for new ways to raise funds and increase adoptions. They figured it could work in Maine, too, and when yoga instructor Marylou Cook brought her 11-year-old son to visit the animals at the shelter, Shelley pounced. Marylou, who owns and teaches at Coastal Maine Yoga in Camden, said she was glad to offer up her services.
“I think yoga with cats is a fun combo,” Marylou said. “And it can provide an opportunity for more people to participate in yoga.”
The classes are free, although participants are asked to bring either a donation of cat food or non-clumping cat litter with them. They began in January with a full house of both yogis and cats. And although the classes, held on the third Wednesday of the month, have been disrupted this winter by the snowstorms that have pummeled Maine, they’ve still remained popular, Shelley said, adding that so far all of the cats that have been guests at the yoga sessions have been adopted.
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