Cat yoga. I know, it sounds like a joke. How can cats do yoga? Well, it’s not really cat yoga but rather yoga with cats. The thought of people doing yoga with cats somehow does not sound any less crazy especially when one considers that yoga is fairly challenging all on its own. Cat yoga is the new rage with cats popping up in classes on New York’s Lower East Side, in San Francisco, Des Moines and Mobile, Alabama.

If you want to add an extra challenge to your yoga, then cat yoga might be for you. In addition to the ordinary challenges of breathing and flexibility, cat yoga adds the monumental burden of keeping the cat(s) off your yoga mat. This might not be too difficult to achieve except that cats seem to be as attracted to the material in yoga mats as they are to catnip! The downside to this is that no one wants their expensive yoga mat shredded by cat claws.

The Good Mews Cat Shelter in the Atlanta, GA suburb of Marietta started a class as a way to get people into the shelter to see the animals available for adoption. The classes have been very popular. It is amazing to watch cats lounging around suddenly come to life by moving in on their prey (people doing yoga on mats). Since the yoga instructor at Good Mews donates her time, the class participation fee becomes a donation to help support the shelter animals.

Although there are no studies about the health benefits of cat yoga, instructors report witnessing a difference in their students sharing practice with cats. There are studies that show yoga can improve and benefit your overall health, sense of self, balance and breathing.

This article was adapted from a CNN story by Jen Christensen titled “Cat yoga: The mewest exercise trend.”