Laura Baumann

The Chinese Year of the Hare or Rabbit, which we are in now, is also in certain traditions referred to as the Year of the Cat. Last year was the Chinese Year of the Tiger. So it comes as no surprise perhaps that since early 2010,
I have been in one way or another surrounded by these feline beauties, which has given me inspiration, joy, solace and incredibly good company. Cats are natural-born yogis, there is no doubt about it! Their movements are full of grace and clarity (sattva), they are clean and always smell good (shaucha), their approach is honest and direct(satya), they are self-sufficient (santosha) and not greedy (aparigraha), yet incredibly loving and intuitively know when you most need their affection(karuna).

They are playful and yes, they kill and eat other animals, but as far as I have seen with our cats, there is no gratuitous violence (ahimsa). Just loads of courage and a need to interact and move. Yet stretching and relaxing is natural to them. Just watching a cat go about its day inspires my sadhana (spiritual practice). Asana, vinyasa, pranayama and meditation (dyana) are all part of their daily routine, and the result is balance and beauty.

In London, I currently live in a house with my friend/landlady and Pushkin. Pushkin’s a tabby and even has the tiger pattern on his belly. He’s got big paws and could teach any yogi a thing of two about Hasta and PadaBandha(hand & foot lock). Pushkin quietly and regally struts his stuff like Lord Krishna around his besotted gopi girls.

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