Yoga Kitty

By : Emma Johnston

Once a week I go to ‘Yoga on the Farm,’ this is a Burford based yoga program that offers a significant number of yoga classes to those who enjoy the country/farm life atmosphere. Until the weather changes, it’s held outdoors and the backdrop of these classes feed my rural girl soul.
As we’re guided through warrior pose and downward dog and other positions I haven’t quite figured out the names of, we can hear the hens clucking in the background and behind our instructor, baby goats run and bleat and play in the long grass.
When I lay down and stare upwards I have the privilege of watching the sun set, casting the vast sky into pinks and blues and purples. If it’s a morning class I watch the dew drops on the grass evaporate as the sun gets hot throughout the morning.
The class offers flexibility, fitness training, but for me, it mostly offers an hour of rest – a place to recharge and regroup.
I very deliberately take this class to help me regain control of myself, my feelings and my energy. It’s a time and space for me to steady myself again, where I purposefully step away from the chaos and business of life and find a space to simply breathe and be.
Last Friday night, during a stretch and relaxation class I found myself laying on my back, watching the clouds drift by as the light began to fade and I closed my eyes, breathing in and out for counts of four, I laid there still, hearing the crickets begin to make their nightly appearance. When we began to transition to the next pose I opened my eyes, and there virtually nose to nose with me were two giant orange eyes and a face full of whiskers. The cat nudged my nose and purred before flopping right on top of me. I tried not to laugh as I rolled over and the cat simply rolled with me. When I stood, he curled up on my yoga mat, when I was back on my mat, he’d climb on my lap or stretch out along my side.
I tried not to giggle when he laid on my stomach, I laughed outright when I accidently bopped him on the nose as I stretched out my leg behind me in a half moon pose. I smiled as he eventually fell asleep by my side at the end of the class, forcing me to adjust my movements to accommodate his furry figure.
Yoga on the Farm offers me space away. It’s a break from deadlines and emails and the stress of the day, but that little cat reminded me that in a world that we try so hard to harness and control, there are still some things (so many things) that are beyond our scope of influence. During a pandemic we’ve noticed this truth; what we once thought we controlled and could bend to our will, now throws us for a loop and we’re stuck trying to make sense of our worlds. We realized that the universe is more fickle and changing than we wanted it to be and we’re surprised, off balance and desperate to regain some control.
I was at my yoga class because I needed to regain some semblance of sanity and command in my life, but this little cat, couldn’t care less about my plans. It didn’t matter to him if I wanted solitude or space, it didn’t matter if I was breathing rhythmically for counts of four or giggling as he lounged across my feet. It didn’t bother him at all that I only had one hour to regroup before joining the world once again. He didn’t care one bit, and for that, I am so grateful.
He reminded me that for all our planning and scheduling and good habits, determination and discipline, there are still so many things outside of our control. I deliberately carve out one hour a week to relax and breath and be silent, and that one hour I had a cat climb over me, purr happily around me and flop across me. I wasn’t silent, my breathing was sporadic and I didn’t ‘clear my mind’, but myself, along with the others in the class, sure had a good laugh. The truth is I loved my hour of yoga with the cat, I felt happy and at peace and better after my class. Not because I accomplished my ‘breath work and relaxation goals’ but because I was reminded that the world is chaos. That our plans, no matter how good they are, will likely be disrupted, changed, re-imagined, redesigned or scrapped all together, that’s hard to accept, but it’s okay.
I think if that cat could speak human, he would have whispered “you cannot control everything and not everything goes as planned, but sometimes those hiccups are still good. Accept the changes, laugh at the disruptions, adapt, adjust and breathe.”
This was a message I needed to hear, I needed to be reminded that adjustments, disruptions, even chaos are inevitable. I need to remember that change will happen, whether I want it to or not and I can fight against it, or simply adapt my pose and make it work.
I’m reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein;
“Order is for idiots, genius can handle chaos”
We live in chaos, we better find a way to handle it!
Thank you yoga kitty. Namaste.

Yoga Kitty

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