There are few things I enjoy more in life than felines and yoga. So, when I found out that New York City’s first and only cat cafe was introducing vinyasa classes, I obviously thought the idea was the cat’s pajamas.
Meow Parlour opened on the Lower East Side in December, immediately becoming a destination for cat lovers. (As in, it still has a two-week-long waiting list for an appointment to sip lattes here.) And owners Christina Ha and Emilie Legrand just keep upping the ante on all things trendy and Instagrammable, with an adjoining patisserie that sells cat-faced cookies and macarons—and now, cat yoga.
“We just thought cat yoga would be fun and funny,” Ha says. “It’s a good way to interact with the cats, and do something for your body at the same time. The thing with cats is, the more you ignore them, the more attention they give you.” (Like, the cat version of post-first-date texting protocol?)
Classes will officially launch within the next two weeks and will take place on Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. (so we suspect a lot of bosses will start getting “doctor’s appointment” emails), but we stopped by for a special sneak peek session to bring you this paws-and-pranayama report.
Cat pose, for real
Amy Apgar, an instructor at Prana Power Yoga, Reflections Yoga, and New York Yoga, taught the class, which is essentially a basic vinyasa flow. “A big focus in this class is on awareness, and where you’re placing the body,” Apgar explains. “It’s a practice in being mindful of other little beings in the space.”
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That awareness resonated with me since my own experience of trying to do yoga in my apartment usually ends with my cat, Karlie, rolling around on my mat and clawing at my hands. I was very interested to see if the cats at Meow Parlour (which are all shelter cats provided through Kitty Kind) would react in the same way.
To my surprise, the cats were largely non-interactive during the 45-minute class, choosing to sit on the sidelines and stare at us with what looked like concern and awe, instead of climbing on the mats or our bodies. (As a cat person, I really wanted one to pounce on my back in tabletop position, but in true cat fashion, they never quite do want you want them to, do they?)
Nonetheless, opening your eyes in downward dog to find a cat glaring back at you through your legs or meeting one’s gaze in wheel pose proved to be highly entertaining. Plus, their presence definitely put me at ease and even more into the moment, which is one of the biggest goals of yoga.
My parting piece of advice? Bring a lint roller for your black yoga pants if you plan on being social following class, and don’t forget to honor the cats with a namaste bow at the end. They’ll totally get offended if you don’t. —Jamie McKillop
$20 per class, visit here to sign up.
(Photos: Jack Frymark)