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Felines and flexibility



It's clear that yoga is a thriving practice in San Luis Obispo. With more than 10 studios in the city, there are plenty of options to choose from, but how many of them come with cats in the room? At Woods Humane Society, yogis and cat lovers can join together to stretch, relax, and enjoy the company of some friendly felines.

On July 2, Woods hosted the first of its new Cat Yoga class series. Inspiration sparked for the nonprofit shelter when staff members attended a yoga class together and the instructor suggested that a cat yoga program be brought to Woods. Each session gives attendees the opportunity to unwind from their week and do something healthy while giving cats some needed love and attention.

COGA TIME Bring your yoga mat, some water, and a friend to Woods Humane Society every Sunday at 10:15 a.m. for Cat Yoga. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ERICA HUDSON
  • Photo Courtesy Of Erica Hudson
  • COGA TIME Bring your yoga mat, some water, and a friend to Woods Humane Society every Sunday at 10:15 a.m. for Cat Yoga.

"We just started this, and so far it's created a lot of buzz on social media. People are really engaged in it. You can come out and help enrich the daily lives of the felines while you're enriching your own life with yoga," said Steve Kragenbrink, community programs director.

If you're not a cat lover, this class may give you a newfound appreciation for them. Their pats, meows and purrs truly help facilitate the positive energy needed to engage in yoga. The practice teaches us to be present with the moment, to nurture our bodies, and let thoughts pass through our minds without judgment. As our thoughts can be unpredictable, so are cats. A few will paw at your yoga mat, some will just slink on by as you descend into downward-facing ... cat. Others will simply observe. No matter their fancy, cats simply put the room at ease.

"Every time I talk to somebody about it, they just light up. Because it's such a unique experience. If you're going to do yoga, you might as well have fun doing it, and do it with some cats," Kragenbrink said.

Classes are held in Woods University, the dog training facility at the back of the shelter. The room is filled with toys and treats to help coax a cat your way between poses.

Classes start on Sundays at 10:30 a.m and run for 90 minutes. Certified yoga instructors lead each class and all levels of experience with yoga are welcome. Each class is $20, and those who are interested are encouraged to sign up online beforehand, bring a yoga mat, some water, and a friend. What better way to spend your Sunday morning than supporting Woods with a friend and some kitties? There are few things that I've found more soothing than ending my yoga practice in savasana to the tune of cats purring.

"What we are trying to do here at Woods is create an animal care community in San Luis Obispo. We're providing an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy a yoga class with the cats at the shelter, promote adoptions, and open the shelter to people that haven't visited us before," Kragenbrink said.

All of the cats in the classes are waiting to be taken home, so if there's one that calls to you, consider giving it a forever home to watch you do yoga in.

Fast facts

Camp Fire's seventh annual Casino Royale Fundraising Event will be Aug. 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. A $60 ticket will get you gaming by Casino Knights, Vegas lounge music by Spot-On! Event Services, cocktails, dinner, a desert bar, and more with the grand prize of three days and two nights in Las Vegas or Laughlin. Reserve via or contact Camp Fire at 773-5126. Tickets are limited.

Pacific Wildlife Care's Wild At Heart fundraiser will be held at Swallow Creek Ranch outside Cayucos on Aug. 5. It will start with naturalist led hikes on the ranch, and plein air painters from San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment (SLOPE) will be there throughtout the day. A portion of art sale proceeds will benefit the nonprofit. Tickets range from $30 to $50 and include a silent auction, food, wine, beer, and a concert by Jill Knight. For more info, visit Δ

Intern Erica Hudson wrote this week's Strokes. Send news tips to

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