“Now take your strap in your right hand and hold it behind your back…”
Easy for you to say, Allie. Your strap is not currently being held captive by a marmalade Manx mix.
Henry working with the strap
Allie is the perky yoga instructor on my “Yoga Basics for Beginners” DVD. The Manx is Henry, the younger of my two cats. Both Charlie (Henry’s brother) and Henry thoroughly enjoy our yoga sessions together. The trouble is, “How to Work Out With Cats” is not one of the topics Allie covers.
It all started when I went to a life insurance seminar at work and won the door prize, a gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Ah. Yes. I’m afraid I am not, shall we say, the most athletic of women. But it was the week of my birthday and I decided to treat it as a gift. Like, you know, one of those presents your well-meaning great-aunt gave you that you really didn’t want but didn’t want to hurt her feelings so you said the right things and then tried to find a way to deal with it. Yeah, that kind of gift.
Fortunately, there’s a shiny new Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the soon-to-be-wonderful new shopping center on my way home from work. So I stopped in, roamed the store looking for something I might actually use, indulged in some brief fantasies in the kayak display (she slides silently across the water through the morning mist, her paddle effortlessly slicing through the surface…), and went home with this yoga kit for beginners.
Having actually experienced a yoga class once before, I thought it would be rather less embarrassing to wobble about in the comfort and privacy of my own home rather than a mirror-lined room full of people. What I didn’t count on was the level of participation from my cats.
Virtually any time I stand still Charlie feels the need to flop down on my foot. The yoga mat just gave him a softer place to flop. Henry particularly likes the strap; not only do I have to yank it out from under him every time I use it, he has a tendency to interrupt my concentration by batting at and tugging on said strap when it’s actually in use. As I’m balancing on one hand and one knee, with the opposite hand and knee stretched out parallel to the floor, Charlie invariable rubs against my outstretched hand to be petted. After all, I’m clearly not using it, right? And it is just about at his head height. My lotus position signals the cats that it’s time to get on either side of my leg and smack at each other under my knee.
Now, this is not a one-time thing. Before injuring my shoulder (not—I think not—from yoga) the three of us went through this routine some 14 days in a row. Since my shoulder no longer moves (much) I’ve put the yoga on hold, and the cats are very disappointed. I started the DVD player today and both of them came running, hoping to get their session in. Sorry boys. Honestly, I miss it, too. Even if it did make me sore in places I didn’t know I had.
Charlie resting after a grueling session
You never know what unexpected obstacles—furry ones or otherwise—will arise when you begin a new endeavor. You just can’t control these things. What you can control is your attitude. I could lock the cats in the other room while I do my little workout, but what fun would that be? Yes, the positions would be easier to achieve and maintain, but I’d miss out on a relationship-building opportunity with my furry family.
Besides, I may be on to something here. Yoga with Cats. It could be the next big thing in exercise!
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