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Yoga for Cats?

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Yoga for Cats?

How Rumi changed my adopted feline.
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D. More by this author
Nov 19, 2009 at 09:00 AM

I have always thought that we as children are sent to school to educate our intellects, but now I realize that much more happens or should happen in school. We get socialized, civilized, that is—we learn how to put the “e” at the end of human, turning a human into someone who is humane. It doesn’t always happen.

Our society is filled up more and more with jails that are filled up more and more with people who have somehow turned into or were always criminals. We’re trying to design youth “outreach programs” to help encourage children to develop as rule-abiding citizens . . . trying to prevent the pediatric brain from developing into a sociopathic brain. And it doesn’t always help. And sometimes we give up hope. We shouldn’t.

Recently I adopted a kitten aptly named Horatio Alger (Alger was a popular American who wrote juvenile novels about impoverished children.) My kitten’s mother was pregnant when she emigrated from Iraq, which means my sweet kitten was conceived in a war-torn country. Because I was on the road with Jill, my manager on my book tour, I could not take the kitten immediately. So he went to Chicago to my friend, “foster mother” Andrew Harvey. Right away, due to what we know about psychology and medical intuition the cat would have issues. (No offense, Andrew!). Trauma 1: On developing brain, cat is transferred to foster home before he is uprooted to final residence. Trauma 2: If this were a human, this child would have an increased risk for behavioral issues, social maladjustment, not to mention impending criminal behavioral.

Not Horatio Alger. Maybe it was Andrew who held my cat all day on his chest reciting Rumi. Maybe it was living in an atmosphere of constant care, love and attention from a variety of peace activists and mystics coming in and out of the house all day and night. After six months, “foster mother” Andrew made the short plane ride to Maine to deliver my new cat. I got calls from many people that Andrew cried for days after he left.

By now, Horatio was an adolescent cat, 6 months old. We were all very scared about how he would adapt to my other 3 adult cats, Jethro Bodine, Dolly, and Sigmund Feline.

I have adopted many a cat from the pound and I know this is a very touchy time. You have to isolate the cats, give them space, introduce the cats one by one . . . yada, yada, yada. But not with our Rumi-afied, Sacred Activism-adjusted Andrew-reared-with-The Hope-cat. Horatio would bow his head, crouch and sit quietly in front of the other adult cats for hours. (Believe me, I watched this interaction with Jethro Bodine behind the couch. I couldn’t believe it.) I couldn’t have lain in that crouched position for that long but Horatio-the Sacred-Activist Kitty sat in his yoga pose to gain each cat’s trust.

A week later I had to go away on a business trip for eight days. I was terrified to go. Would this peace-a-thon continue or would the cats’ behavior return to what we have come to expect: mayhem, foolishness, and fur-flying violence?

By the time I returned, every cat was treating Horatio as if he were their son, giving him baths and teaching him the ways of the house.

We can and will have Hope for our future especially for our world that we will pass on to our children. Please read Andrew Harvey's book The Hope: a Guide to Sacred Activism. You, your children, and your loving pets will be glad you did.

About Author
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz is one of those rare people who can cross the borders of intuition, science, medicine, and mysticism. An internationally known expert in Medical Intuition and Mind-Body Medicine, she h Continue reading