Elongating its spine and stretching its paws forward, a cartoon cat in downward dog is the mascot of the Bar Harbor yoga studio, Cattitude. The name “Cattitude” is due to not only the owner Laura Neal’s deep affection for cats, but also due to Indian yogic master B.K.S. Iyengar’s admiration for cat’s stretching capabilities: “Look at a cat, a master of stretching and a master of relaxation” (B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life). A compliment from Iyengar is a pretty big deal. Personally I’m a dog person, but even I can’t deny their innate flexibility. They’re bendy and they know it. But Cattitude is more than just a cutesy name—it’s also a welcoming studio with various styles of yoga and meditation offered from any of the nine teachers.
Every good yoga class has a moment that I fondly refer to as the “aha moment.”
At 8:45 a.m. I show up with-far-too-little caffeine in my body to Cattitude’s small-but-spacious studio for Johannah Blackman’s “Embodied Flow Yoga” on Saturday morning. Instead of Blackman, a different Cattitude teacher, Jodi Sargent, is our sub. This turns out to be a happy surprise, even for a grumpy non-morning person like myself. From the Cattitude website, I find that Sargent comes from a Vinyasa and Anusara background and usually teaches a class called “Hatha Vinyasa Yoga” on Monday mornings. Sargent’s classes combine Tantric philosophy, inversions, breath work, and meditation encouraging introspection and cultivating the ability to “ride the breath.” For a fleeting moment, I consider riding my breath to the nearest coffee shop, but squelch my negativity and reach for a yoga mat.
Every good yoga class has a moment that I fondly refer to as the “aha moment.” The “aha moment” is a mental or physical gift from yourself, your teacher, and yoga where you find yourself in a deeper version of a pose, a more advanced pose (cough handstand cough), or a mental/emotional breakthrough during a yoga class. This Saturday class’ “aha moment” came while I was in warrior II, a pose that can appear basic but actually hurts like a bitch when practiced correctly and held extensively. After the first five breaths in warrior II, I feel my eyes straining, an involuntary reaction expressing the tension in my muscles, and leaving me looking bug-eyed. Needless to say, I look very very attractive in this state.
“A softness and a strength are necessary,” Sargent describes as we deepen the bend in our front knee. Ouch. “I am not-so softly going to pass out,” I think to myself. It’s Sargent’s paradoxical description of warrior II as a “gentle warrior” that causes the “aha moment” that clicks inside my once grumpy mind. My warrior II simultaneously feels strong in my body and soft in my mind. It’s these moments that cause students, no matter how foul their mood when they enter a class, to return back to their mat. As we come to the end of our class, I feel less like the dwarf, Sleepy, from Snow White, (I watch way too many Disney movies) and more like myself. The final OM to close class leaves a reverberating and energizing purr in my mind and body that I carry with me from the mat out into the fall air, as I think to myself, “with classes like that, even a dog person can learn to love Cattitude.”
Where: Cattitude, 53 Main Street, Baysind Landing, 2nd Floor, Bar Harbor, ME
How much: $12 for 60 minute classes, $16 for 90 minute classes
Find out more: CattitudeMDI.com
Image via Flickr/Go Interactive Wellness