Ashley Anderson

WHAT HAS BECOME of Portland? We scoured local studios for classes to highlight in what we thought would be an inspiring roundup of weirdo yoga classes... and came up with practically nothing. Even just two years ago Stumptown would've been teeming with cuckoo-bananas classes... like, yoga with real cuckoos and real bananas. But now all the darkwave, 420 rooftop, and paddleboard canine-companion sessions seem to have dried up, and we're left with straight-up hatha, vinyasa, and hot practices. It seems people around here are taking their yoga practice rather seriously these days. Le yawn.

Thank god for cat yoga, then. 

You've no doubt heard of the year-old Purrington's Cat Lounge (3529 NE MLK), where you can sip wine and tea or nosh nachos in the tranquil presence of adoptable cats. The company kept there is mutually beneficial, but if you're interested in integrating feline wellness more, um, yogically into your life, you'll be pleased to know that Purrington's also offers a Purr Yoga class every Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm. 

Taught by Brigid Flood (also of Hollywood Babylon), the yoga itself is gentle and restorative, accessible to a wide range of abilities. The lounge is rather petite, so the classes are small by necessity—four students plus the instructor fit comfortably, with plenty of space for cats to roam and frolic while you downward dog.

A note about Purrington's layout: The café has counter-space lining a large window with ample views into the cats' play area. This cattery is where Purr Yoga takes place. You are as much on display as the passel of cats from the Cat Adoption Team. So if you're as shy as sweet Jasper the Cat (who, after a brief cattery appearance, preferred to peer at the yogis from a perch in the back room), this is not the yoga for you, but if you have few qualms about waggling your butt in front of teenagers holding up their phones... go for it! The gamboling kitties are worth the potential embarrassment.

A note about Purrington's cats: These dudes have pretty much hit the lottery as far as exposure to potential cat-parents, so turnover is swift. The flipside is that the cats are all kinda buggin' over their new surroundings—this is compounded by all the furniture being moved to make room for yoga mats after a long day of being patted by strangers. It's not surprising that some cats just end up wanting to hide, or climb to the untouchable reaches of the scratch-tower. And that's where the beauty of yoga comes in. With the focus off the cats, even the shyest of shy-guys ventured down to sniff at the slow-moving bodies quietly emitting posi-chill vibes. By the end of the class, everyone was feeling looser and down to hang out.

Purr Yoga is about 45 minutes long, with a goodly chunk of time at the end set aside to play with the fluffsters. You can even grab a glass of wine to make lounging time even more fun after your workout. Those puffy monsters love yoga mats, so you'll be doing plenty of petting, and if you don't want hairs all over your mat, the nice folks at the cat lounge have ones you can borrow.

Between cat knickknacks, merch, booze, and soothing feline therapy, this is probably the best yoga experience you can have in Portland, weirdness notwithstanding.


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