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Experience I HEALTH

STRETCH AND PURR

Try it here CATMOSPHERE

Cat cafés offer yoga devotees the ultimate in meditation practice. Dilvin Yasa strikes a pose Cats provide an example and a challenge in cat yoga classes.

Surry Hills, Sydney and Chiang Mai, Thailand Yoga with adult cats $25; coffee and a play appointment with kitties, from $15. catmospherecafe.com

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LUCKY CAT CAFE Annerley, Brisbane A one-hour yoga class is $29, however you can pop in for a lengthy stroke for only $12.60. Light refreshments available. luckycatcafe.com.au

YOGA VINE Perth CBD A high-end yoga studio with a comprehensive timetable including vinyasa and pilates. Cats on Mats fundraising events are run twice a year. Look out for the next one in March. theyogavine.com.au

Strike a pose

45-minute session. The yoga class is followed by 15 minutes of “cat therapy” (essentially plenty of stroking and cuddles). The class is so popular, it’s booked solid every week – not only in Surry Hills, but also at the original Catmosphere, founded by Austrian Bernhard Mueller and located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Cats and yoga may seem like a strange union but as Wenee points out, the health benefits of keeping a cat have long been documented. A study by the University of Minnesota found that

the health benefits of keeping a cat have long been documented those who didn’t own a cat were between 30 and 40 per cent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners, while another study from the University of Indiana has shown that even just watching cat videos can decrease feelings of anxiety and depression and boost your energy. “For me,

the marriage between the two just made sense,” Wenee says. “Yoga is essentially mindfulness in motion and cats with their constant relaxed state can either assist or provide an additional challenge to help you locate your inner peace.” Alas, inner peace was not to be. When I went home to my own cat smelling of others (the feline equivalent of lipstick on the collar perhaps), he let me know, by way of a very carefully placed gift, that it will be a long time before I’ll be graced with a purr – inner or otherwise.

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I’M HAVING TROUBLE locating my inner purr. Our yoga instructor Annabelle – clad in a singlet featuring a large print of a cat wearing a space helmet – assures me it’s within me, but I’m doubtful. Besides, I’m distracted by the cat arching its back on my yoga mat and attempting to cough up a fur ball. “It’s okay, we can learn a lot from these creatures,” Annabelle says as she eases us through our positions. The cats, 12 of them, roam between us with bored expressions on their faces. “Look at their agility and at their neutral spines; that’s what you want to achieve … aaaand exhale.” It’s a Thursday evening at Catmosphere, a cat café in the heart of Sydney’s Surry Hills. During the day, feline aficionados young and old can come in and grab a coffee before spending time with the rescue kitties in the space-themed cat rooms. “It’s become a popular choice for first Tinder dates, buck’s nights and with those trying to get over the death of a muchloved pet,” Catmosphere co-owner Wenee Yap says. Tonight, the upstairs room turns into a yoga studio, with just enough room for nine catloving yogis to enjoy a

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