They come for the cats, but they stay for the yoga.
Yogi Matt Turner added cat yoga to his repertoire several years ago at SICSA and has since started sharing his love of yoga and kittens at the Gem City Catfe.
“I know a lot of people are here for the cats, but I’m able to sneak some yoga into their lives,” Turner said, smiling.
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The cafe, located at 1513 E. 5th St. in the St. Anne’s Hill Historic District — which has both coffee and kitty cats in abundance — offers its popular Yoga with Cats! event monthly in its upstairs art gallery.
The next session is Feb. 8 from 9-10 a.m. Advance registration is required.
“The classes fill up quickly and we usually sell out,” said Gem City Catfe events manager Marie Bertolo, “The cats offer a calming vibe, it really helps with relaxation.”
The Catfe usually houses about 18 cats, and all but the two resident cats are adoptable.
“I have two goals for the class — have fun and find homes for the cats,” Turner said.
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Fun and fitness don’t always go together, but that’s exactly what Turner strives for in his practice. Intimidated by yoga? There’s no need for that at Yoga with Cats!
“Yoga is for everybody and every body,” Turner said. “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Turner combines Hatha, Yin and Ashtanga styles into a beginner-friendly, one-hour class. He has shared the practice with teens and adults well into their 80s.
“One of the great things about yoga is that there are a dozen different ways to do every pose, so anyone can do it,” he said.
“Matt does a good job tailoring the class to a wide range of ages and experience levels,” Bertolo said. “We have people who have never done yoga and people who do it all the time.”
The class is designed to be as physically challenging as participants want it to be. It’s not about getting it right, it’s about doing what is right for you.
“I have found that yoga is a conversation we have with our bodies,” Turner said. “And you really learn to love your body when you realize what you are capable of.”
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Most of the furry friends that will wind their way through your legs while you’re in a pose or find a comfortable place to chill on your mat are available for adoption. In partnership with Gem City Kitties, the Gem City Catfe helps connect adoptable rescue cats with forever families through events as well as interaction in the onsite cat lounge. Gem City Kitties also educates the community through classes and workshops in the Catfe’s event space.
“We recently had 12 adoptions in a single weekend,” Bertolo said. “This is a great way to try yoga and spend time with our adoptable cats.”
For pricing and class availability or to learn more about the Gem City Catfe's Yoga with Cats! or other events, visit www.gemcitycatfe.com or check out the Gem City Catfe on Facebook.