By Emma Kent // Photos by Lauren Wood
Maybe you’ve heard about goat yoga or you’ve seen photos of people doing yoga while kittens run around on the floor around them. Well, the trend has arrived in Tupelo along with the opening of the new Tupelo-Lee Humane Society. TLHS moved into its new building, which includes a multipurpose space, in November. Shortly after, the shelter started offering kitten yoga classes.
Mel Whitfield leads the kitten yoga classes. Since the classes started in late November, Whitfield said they’ve been well-attended by cat lovers and yogis alike. An animal-lover herself, Whitfield said the classes are the highlight of her week.
“I love it,” she said. “I’m giddy during the class, and I look forward to it every Monday.”
The purpose of kitten yoga is two-fold: To get the kittens accustomed to people and to hopefully get some of the kittens adopted.
“It socializes them, and that’s really important when it comes to getting them adopted,” Whitfield said.
While yoga with dozens of kittens running around as you move from one pose to the next doesn’t sound calm or peaceful, it’s actually relaxing to interact with the cats (unless of course you’re not a cat person, in which case you might want to sit this one out). There’s something about holding a kitten that melts all that workweek stress away.
“It is impossible to leave yoga with kittens without a smile on your face,” Whitfield said.
It goes a little something like this: You come in and spend some time getting to know the kittens and watching them chase each other around and do other adorable kitten things. Then, you choose a spot, roll out your mat and get started. As Whitfield leads the class, the kittens keep doing their thing. Just watch out for claws on the curious kitties that try to climb your legs mid warrior-pose. All in all, it’s definitely something you should try at least once. Classes at the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society take place every Monday night at 6 p.m. and cost $10. That cost benefits the shelter.