The only thing better than a relaxing hour of yoga is a relaxing hour of yoga with kittens playing at your feet. Colleen Theobald, Bayfield Yoga instructor, and the La Plata County Humane Society teamed up on Saturday to offer just that experience.
Three kittens joined kids and adults for a free, beginner-friendly yoga class at the Pine River Library in Bayfield. They darted between yoga students’ legs, climbed on kids’ shoulders and pounced playfully at each other. Theobald is a foster of kittens and puppies and hosted one kittens-yoga session, called “Meow-Maste,” in 2021 as well.
A $10 to $20 donation was suggested for attendees but not required, with all proceeds going toward the humane society.
Nikon and Canon, two of the kittens, were each missing one of their back legs. Colleen Dunning, foster coordinator for the La Plata County Humane Society, said she has been nursing them back to health after they were handed over to the humane society after somebody found them in their backyard when they were just 2 days old.
“They are tripods, so they are missing one of their back legs,” she said. “... So I’ve been bottle feeding them and raising them for about six weeks. This is their first big outing.”
The third, a slightly older kitten, is named Critter. He was found behind AutoZone in Bayfield, she said.
“I’ve just been fostering (him) for a little bit,” she said. “He came in with an upset tummy. He had a tummy full of tinfoil. Probably from eating from the garbage. He took a little bit to feel better but he’s doing really well now.”
Dunning said the humane society is always looking for new fosters for the kittens, cats, puppies and dogs they shelter. The humane society’s facility is undergoing major renovations, but those are expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks.
“We’re undergoing massive renovations,” she said. “So our whole kennel is under construction right now. It’s been amazing. We’ve had a huge outpouring of people who want to foster adult dogs and kittens and cats. So it’s been super helpful.”
She said the need for foster families for kittens is particularly high during “kitten season,” which typically lasts from April or May through August.
“And then we tend to see puppies in the fall and the winter months. Which is nice because it’s not all blowing up at the same time,” she said.
She said there is a need in the La Plata County community for cats and dogs to be spayed and neutered and advised pet owners to do so. The humane society offers low-cost spay and neuter clinics, but available appointments fill up quickly.
Theobald said she started fostering animals during the COVID-19 pandemic after she got back from a trip to India. During her trip she saw so many stray dogs. Upon her return, she decided she wanted to do something for dogs without homes or families to love them.
Yoga students practiced sun salutations, downward dogs, planks and breathing exercises, including what Theobald called the “breath of joy” exercise, during the class Saturday. The class was beginner-friendly and was really there to serve as a chance for people to play with the kittens, Theobald said.
She has practiced yoga since she was in college, but for the last 12 or so years she has practiced it daily, she said. She enjoys teaching people how to feel their bodies through yoga.
She said many people don’t realize that yoga is for everyone, whether you’re in shape or not. But not every yoga instructor is for everyone.
“If you aren’t enjoying it, go to another class,” she said. “Go to another (instructor).”
Interested in trying yoga out for yourself? Theobald said she has wrapped up classes for the rest of the summer, but she plans to pick them back up this fall.
She likes to keep things low key and doesn’t put much effort into advertising, she said. But if you’re interested in attending one of her courses, more information can be found on the Bayfield Yoga Facebook page.