Kittens join yogis at Humane Society yoga classes

By Douglas McCulloch | Jun 23, 2018
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Joann Camara found herself surrounded by cats, making it difficult to concentrate on yoga.

As Joanne Camara went through her yoga routine, a sudden distraction broke her focus: three adorable kittens, which began clamoring for her attention.

It was to be expected, however, at the Humane Society and Shelter’s Yoga With Kittens event. Back by popular demand, the June 23 event included five 45-minute yoga sessions hosted by professional instructors as the shelter’s kittens explored, played, and wandered around.

“One of our board members came up with the idea last year,” said Melinda Ventura, the shelter’s executive director. “We were seeing yoga with goats, and we thought why don’t we have it with kittens.”

When the idea was pitched last year, a single 40-person session filled up almost instantly. This year was no different, as the five sessions, which cost a $20 donation to the shelter to participate in, attracted on average 30 to 40 yogis and feline fans.

Nanci Winterhalter led the first session. Even she found herself pausing and deviating from her routine yoga instruction as kittens approached her.

“It was totally different from my usual classes,” said instructor Nanci Winterhalter. “Yoga is usually an introverted experience. It reminded us of our connection to animals.”

Participants also found it hard to focus on the positioning and breathing exercises, frequently breaking out of it to play with the kittens and with toys the kittens chased around.

Even though many yogis left the event obsessed with the kittens, many of them were already set to be adopted next week. It made planning the event difficult because kittens tend to not stay in the shelter for long, Ventura noted.

A participant holds a cat midway through the yoga session. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Lindsey Perreault and Kris Constantino pet a kitten before parting ways with their new furry friend. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
(Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
(Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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