Humane Society yoga is puuuurfect family fun

By Angie Hilsman | Jun 17, 2017
Photo by: Angie Hilsman

When the Humane Society South Coast staff first proposed a "yoga with kittens" event, they weren't sure how the public would respond.

But the 8:30 a.m. class on June 17 filled in a few days, and the nonprofit added three more classes for the same day, all of which filled with 35 to 40 yogis and about a dozen 10- to 12-week-old kittens.

"This was way more successful than anyone had anticipated," said Manager Arianna Silva.

The idea stemmed from Board member Donna Bosworth, who is a yoga instructor. After the first annual event's success, staff are already brainstorming similar events, including "Pilates with puppies," and "yoga goes to the dogs."

The $15-per-person class started as a fundraiser, but at least two kittens were adopted during the exercise, said Executive Director Melinda Ventura.

"They're loving the kittens. They're loving the yoga," she said.

The humans weren't the only participants enjoying the class. Kittens tackled each other, weaved between legs, napped on yoga blankets, and explored shoes and other foreign objects.

"She's purring, Allison. She's so happy," said Jessica Gagne to friend Allison Koamkin.

Participant Donna Kirk thought the kittens complimented the ideals of yoga. "The whole thing with yoga is you're supposed to be mindful. How can you not be in the moment with kittens?" she asked.

Instructor Leonora Torres loved the idea as well. "It's a fun way for people to experience yoga and the shelter," she said.

Staff also sold t-shirts at the event to continue their fundraising efforts. Proceeds support food, vaccines, and the cost to keep the shelter open, said Silva.

"I'm going to bring in the popcorn machine because it's lunchtime," she said, using the snack as an additional fundraiser.

Participants supplied their own yoga mats, but the shelter provided cat wands and toys during the hour session for guests to engage the kittens. The event was held at the shelter's 31 Ventura Drive location.

(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
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Nine-year-old Kali Rodrigues has a hard time laying down. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Rachel Peters, 7, makes a friend. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
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Louise Rodrigues. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
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Jennifer Costa. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Brandy Lebeau plays with a kitten. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Emilio Torres-Roseberry. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Karen Maciulewicz had someone by her side for the whole class. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
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Ashley Alves lifts a kitty through a salutation. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Jessica Gagne listens to the kitten purr. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Instructor Leonora Torres. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
Callie Peters, 8, is a regular yogi. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
(Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
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