It’s Monday evening at a yoga class in San Francisco. Eight people are resting in child’s pose on their mats, breathing deeply. But this is no ordinary class. This is cat yoga at KitTea Cat Cafe.
As the instructor leads the group through an hour of poses, a dozen cats roam around the room. Tiger, a big orange guy in a grey sweater, perches on a seat near the front. A jet-black furball called Burger snoozes on a hammock in the back. Otis, a skinny striped cat, tries to eat my microphone. Cats are slinking around everywhere, but the yogis don’t mind -- in fact, they pay $30 an hour for the opportunity to stretch alongside these felines.
Kathlyn Araya is a self-proclaimed "cat lady" and a regular at cat yoga. She loves coming here because it feels more relaxed and playful, compared to other yoga classes she's tried in San Francisco.
“You’re doing a proper yoga class… but it’s OK if you’re not doing something because you want to pet the cats,” she tells me. “It’s got a light feel to it.”
Other people at KitTea rave about the benefits of cat yoga; the instructor calls it “cat therapy."