BLUE RIDGE, GEORGIA – As the gathered yogis settled into the meditative practice, a loud meows rang out, but the serene mood remained the calm and peaceful — this was, after all, Yoga with Cats, a new weekly event starring adoptable cats at Sanctuary Brewing Company.
Four cats from Blue Ridge Humane Society were let loose to explore Sanctuary’s industrial downtown space and weave in, out and around the full house of participants, who petted the furry friends as each proceeded to “interrupt” the yoga practice.
We are thrilled that the Yoga with Cats has been so warmly received,” said
Sanctuary Brewing Company co-owner Lisa McDonald of the first two classes. “What better way to kick off Saturday than with some soul and body nourishing in the form of yoga with adoptable cats?”
As most of the brewery’s weekly adoption and fundraising events are dog-centric, McDonald thought that a Yoga with Cats class would be great way to advocate also for cats in need of forever homes.
“By bringing in adoptable cats from Blue Ridge Humane, our guests and felines have a healthy, friendly outing,” she said. “BRHS benefits via donations, and a cat or two might just get adopted.”
Minxie, Gleam, Lettie and Buena made new friends as instructor Chantal Berot led a series of asanas, from “downward dog” to the “cow and cat” pose alternations. Gleam liked doing a feline version of downward dog.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Eryn Carper, Blue Ridge Humane Society shelter director about the Yoga with Cats event. “You see all those cat videos with cats and dogs interrupting people doing yoga — this class is a great way to showcase the animals.”
Sarah Eldreth took the class with her husband, Chad, and their 7-year-old daughter Maleia. They already have cats at home.
“It was great,” said Sarah Eldreth. “They were so sweet!”
Since Saturday evening, two cats had been adopted, and Carper and McDonald were hopeful that even more would find homes.
“We try to select the ones that are the most social,” said Carper, who had been discussing the event idea with McDonald ever since the summer.
Unfortunately, Lettie, a brown tabby, felt a bit too anxious and had to be put back in her carrier. However, Gleam, a shiny black cat, and Buena, a compact grey tabby, got seemingly comfortable and sought some affection among the students of the class, while Minxie was shyer and kept to the perimeter of the room.
Half of the $5 fee to take the class goes towards the Blue Ridge Humane Society, though Berot, an instructor at YAM studio, felt inspired to give a chunk of her take directly to the shelter.
“I just feel like a majority should go to Blue Ridge,” said Berot, who had never taught a yoga class with free-roaming cats present before this.
Sanctuary co-owner and head brewer Joe Dinan got in the spirit also and spread out a mat to get in some yoga practice before opening the taproom at noon.
“We open right after the session, so everyone can hang out for a beer or mimosa afterward,” McDonald said.
We here at The Best Cat Page wish the best to all who continue to be involved with this novel endeavor!