Be more cat.
This expression is frequently used when trying to encourage people to adopt the lifestyle of their feline friend. No, this doesn’t mean catching mice and leaving them still alive at your family’s doorstep – it means slowing down, being calm and enjoying the smaller things in life.
In yoga we are encouraged to prioritise this level of well-being and if we are looking for inspiration and instruction on how to live well then Stéphane Garnier, in his book How To Live Like Your Cat, believes there is no better model. So what can we learn from our cats as they saunter through our homes…sorry, their homes?
Garnier highlights a number of kitty traits in his self-help book which are enviable to those of us struggling to channel inner peace, and so are well worth seeking to adopt. Our favourites of those being:
- They take their time
- They rest heavily
- They are calm and serene
These qualities certainly seem to stand-out when observing a cat’s behaviour. Have you ever seen a cat in a hurry? Fine, except for at dinnertime – you’ve got us there. But mainly they amble and they stretch and they go at their own pace. These traits are so apparent to us, not just because…well…it’s what they’re always doing…, but also because they are in such stark contrast with those of humans. Yes, of course this is a generalisation – for both humans and cats – but for most of us it’s true! One thing that lockdown has highlighted for many of us is the need in our society to slow down. For many of us it has taken a global pandemic to make us do less. How To Live Like Your Cat reiterates that a cat needs nothing but it’s own instincts to encourage it to go at it’s own pace.
But the most interesting comparison we noticed whilst reading How To Live Like Your Cat, was that of how we both rest. Whilst rest and sleep is mostly secondary to a human, it is the priority of the cat…
Often referred to as nature’s reset button, this is the act of stretching and yawning whilst waking up. Sound familiar? Not to us – but maybe you have observed this phenomenon in your cat? (You have.) The act of pandiculation causes our muscles to contract completely and they lengthen in response, therefore allowing for complete relaxation. By reminding our muscles that they do not need to stay in a contracted state, this encourages relaxed muscle and renewed muscle control. So when we see our pets stretch, let’s face it in a very indulgent manner, they are in fact pandiculating and it is less about laziness and more about self-care for their bodies.
So How To Live Like Your Cat rightly asks “why don’t we do the same?” Shouldn’t we all take a moment when we wake up to really stretch, to pandiculate. Not only would it slow things down -less panic and jumping up when you hear that alarm go off – but you will have given your muscles a moment to refresh and relax before you’ve even stepped foot out of bed.
Garnier concludes his book through the words of his beloved cat, Ziggy, (you’ll have to read it to find out how that works…) However, not before he himself gives some careful and important advice based on his years of research and observing the behaviours of his pet:
“Live like your cat and make your life a quest for wellbeing and pleasure”
Don’t mind if we do!
Here is a link to the book if you fancy your own copy!
Please note that we do get a tiddly bit of referral commission if you purchase this book via this link!