This morning, I had a very interesting and rather unusual experience doing yoga at the Big Cat Habitat here in Sarasota. It began reasonably early at 8:45am, but it was already pretty hot and humid. Duh, it’s summer in Florida. There were tons of playful tigers all around us. Their enclosures are very large, which made it feel more like we were the ones in the zoo and they were visiting us. So amazing!
In addition to the tigers, we were able to see some lions and one giant (almost 800lbs!) liger– a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. Apparently the Big Cat Habitat has over 50 big cats living there, along with bears, sloths, alpacas, alligators, foxes, and a variety of exotic birds. All the animals have all been rescued and are now being protected and cared for by this amazing non-profit organization and its volunteers.
We were lead through an hour flow by a very sweet instructor from Pineapple Yoga. Of course, we did several rounds of Lion’s Breath (where you inhale deeply and then let your breath out forcefully while sticking out your tongue like a lion). We also shook our tiger tails in our free-flowing cat/cow poses.
Halfway through our practice, one of the lions started “talking” to us. Not quite a roar, but a deep grumbling. You can hear a bit of it in the video. It was actually a little scary sounding initially, but we felt very safe and welcome at the sanctuary. In fact, they gave us all a day pass to come back another time and see everything.
I would highly recommend the Big Cat Habitat experience to anyone. It was fantastic; practicing yoga there was just icing on the cake. Seeing and sharing my morning with these beautiful creatures just reminded me that habitat preservation is so important, as well as compassion for animals. And we need to have more compassion for others, especially ourselves, but that’s another post entirely…😉
Have a good weekend, everyone! ROAR!