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Downward dog upstaged by cats

Downward dog upstaged by cats

Meowmaste Yoga with Cats a popular class
Downward dog upstaged by cats
Cats interact with yoga practitioners in these Meowmaste classes at the Humane Society.
Photographer: photos provided

MENANDS -- Yoga isn’t just for people: goats, dogs and now cats are joining in. 

Each month, the Mohawk Humane Society in Menands hosts a Meowmaste Yoga with Cats class. 

“It fills up within a day [of being announced] or sometimes less,” said Vicki Brignati. 

She works full time as a yoga instructor at The Hot Yoga Spot in Clifton Park but wanted to do something to help out the Humane Society.

Brignati reached out to the Society about starting cat yoga and, according to Marguerite Pearson, the marketing and communications manager, the Society was just starting to look into making cat yoga feasible. 

Brignati teaches an all-levels class, so it’s not intimidating even for beginners. 

“The people that come to the classes are cat lovers,” Pearson said. There are usually three or four cats milling about throughout the class. They’re put in the community room (where the classes are held) a day or two before the class so the cats can become familiar and comfortable with the room. Pearson said they try to have cats with different personalities join the classes: some shy and some social. Very social.

“We had one cat in our last class who went to everyone’s mats and had to interact with every person,” Pearson said. 

Then there are some who are content to just lay in the middle of the floor . . . or in the middle of a yogi's mat. 

“Some cats will come and lay on people,” Brignati said.

Even though the cats can “disrupt” the flow, that’s partially the point. “It’s very much enhanced by the cats being there,” Brignati said, “People get to know the cats. We keep it fun.”

The class also helps give the cats who are all up for adoption a bit more exposure. 

“We typically don’t allow phones [in a yoga class] but here we encourage it,” Brignati said. 

People often post pictures of the cats on social media, tagging any friends who might be interested in adoption. Pearson also gathers the cats’ backstories and tells the yogis a bit about the cats before the class and those stories get shared. 

Each class is $15 and goes directly to the Mohawk Humane Society since Brignati volunteers her time to teach. 

“It combines two things that I’m passionate about -- yoga and animal rights,” Brignati said. 

The next class, which is on Wednesday, March 14, is sold out already. However, Brignati will hold another in April. The date has yet to be announced but will be up on the Society’s Facebook page in the coming weeks. 

For those who can’t make the next class, the Society is planning a Meow-Luau on June 2 where there will be another cat yoga class. 

For more information about upcoming classes and the Society follow them on Facebook or visit mohawkhumane.org.

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