Sydney's first ever cat cafe, Catmosphere, hosts Cat Yoga sessions every Thursday. They involve 45 minutes of yoga in a room that's home to up to 20 cats, followed by 15 minutes of "kitty cuddle time".
The classes are conducted in a small room above the cafe. The walls are lined with cat beds and feline-friendly cubby holes.
We tried it out, to see if cats really are ~calming~ at all.
Prior to class, we liked (or disliked) cats, and yoga, to varying degrees. This is how we felt about cats:
Brad: I have grown up with cats my whole life. At most we had four. They're nice and fun to have but I have also had not-nice cats that didn't take kindly to me, probably because some of our cats were adopted strays. I hope all of these cats are nice.
Michelle: Look cats are OK. I’m not one to necessarily hate any animal (besides spiders of course) but cats are just so temperamental. I am team dog all the way. They love you unconditionally. Cats? Not so much.
Hannah: I like a very specific kind of cat - those chubby, fluffy, grey ones. Other than those, I find cats to be an inoffensive animal, for the most part, unless they scratch. Then they are mean. I am wary of mean-looking cats.
And this is how we felt about yoga:
So what is the point of cat yoga? Clinical psychologist and yoga teacher Monica Schweickle told BuzzFeed that it, "combines animal assisted therapy with the moving meditation of yoga, potentially offering participants the benefits of both."
"There is a growing body of research that indicates that animal assisted therapy can reduce depression, loneliness and anxiety," Schweickle says. "The human stress response can be managed through touch. Patting an animal can provide sensory stress relief."
"Similarly, an increasing field of psychology research shows the mental health benefits of yoga. Specific yoga and meditation practices can improve sleep and reduce stress. Combining animals and yoga is like a double infusion of joy!"