• The 'purrfect' way to relax in Mumbai! Head to Versova for a yoga session with cats

    Shraddha UchilMar 21, 2017, 08:00 IST

    Picture this: You're sitting in a quiet room, eyes shut, focusing on your asana while you breathe in and out. But this is no regular yoga class. Because you have nearly two dozen felines twirling around you, and because, instead of a yoga studio, you're at Versova's Cat Café Studio, which will be hosting its first ever 'mew-ga' session on Wednesday.

    While the concept of doing yoga with animals kicked off in the US last year, thanks to a bunch of animal shelters partnering with yoga institutes to raise funds and awareness, this is likely the first event of its kind in India. The hour-long session will be conducted by Priti Jhavar, who has trained at The Yoga Institute in Santacruz.

    Two furry residents of Cat Cafe Studio
    Two furry residents of Cat Cafe Studio

    "You will be doing yoga with the 25 cats who currently live at the cafe. We had heard of the concept, but it's not easy finding a yoga instructor who likes - and lives with - cats. So it was amazing when Priti came to us with the idea," says Dr Charu Khosla, co-founder of Cat Cafe Studio.

    Jhavar is not only a parent to two cats - 15-year-old Simba and 14-year-old Spiky - but is an ardent animal lover and has volunteered with several organisations that work for the welfare of animals.

    She says, "It is known that spending time with pets helps you deal with stress and anxiety. And yoga is also about achieving the same. A good yoga session helps you form a connection with nature, and you experience a feeling of calmness."

    She adds that while she was doing her yoga course last year, she felt that her cats had some yogic qualities. "They know how to concentrate fully; focus comes naturally to them. And on the other hand, they also know how to relax and completely let go. At home, I am surrounded by my cats during my asana practice all the time, so it just seemed like a good idea to have a yoga session with the beautiful cats at Cat Cafe Studio. And mew-ga helps me bring together two of my greatest loves."

    Yoga instructor Priti Jhavar
    Yoga instructor Priti Jhavar

    The first mew-ga class, scheduled for Wednesday, is already full, so the organisers are holding another one on Saturday. While these sessions will not be charged, they hope to turn it into a regular series of classes, for which you can sign up on a monthly basis.

    While cats do spend a lot of their time lounging around doing nothing, they have their playful moments, too. So, if you're interested in signing up, make sure you're comfortable with a cat rubbing against you or using your yoga mat as a scratching pad.

    Khosla reveals that there's yet another reason for hosting these sessions. "Being around cats while performing activities like yoga helps you envision cats in your own environment. We're hoping this will make people think about adopting a cat, which is our ultimate goal."

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    Be smitten with a kitten
    It is believed that having a cat snuggle with you helps you feel better, and can lower your stress levels. Petting a cat also has a calming effect. A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota has found that over a 10-year period, cat owners were 30 per cent less likely to die of a heart attack than non-cat owners.

    ON: March 25, 8 am to 9.30 am, 10 am to 11.30 am
    AT: Cat Cafe Studio, Aram Nagar Part 1, Versova, Andheri (E).
    LOG ON TO: Cat Cafe Studio on Facebook
    CALL: 9619190290