Dog yoga is so yesterday. And cat yoga? That’s for newbies.
East Passyunk studio Yoga Hive Philly is celebrating its one-year anniversary by hosting a class at the East Passyunk Community Recreation Center. It’s not your run-of-the-mill animal yoga: Attendees can break out their most impressive downward dogs and warrior poses in the midst of monkeys, lambs, baby goats, bunnies, an alpaca, ducks, chickens, turtles, lizards, raccoons, “and more.”
“Thinking of new animals to bring into the studio is kind of like a high,” said Gina Durante, one of the studio’s co-owners. “Last year when we opened, we did goat yoga for the grand opening. We realized how popular it was and how much people loved it.”
The three-hour event takes place Saturday, July 20. Attendees can select an hour-long slot; of the 150 spots available, half have already been sold. The menagerie of honored guests will be provided by Peaceable Kingdom, a mobile petting zoo that roves areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The kid-friendly event is BYOM (bring your own mat).
“The animals seem to love it,” Durante said. “At the farm, they’re not getting as much attention. When they get to come out and socialize, they’re all very happy.”
Before you raccoon-proof your yoga mat, take heed: For safety reasons, most animals will not be roaming freely during the anniversary class. Instead, most will be stationed around class participants. Animals that are used to attending yoga classes, such as lambs and goats, will be on the mats. (The monkeys will be contained, alas, in crates.)
After class, yogis will get to snap photos of all the animals and ask zookeepers questions.
Durante and co-owner Heather Bonato both worked corporate jobs before opening Yoga Hive. Durante’s family has a long history of owning businesses in Philadelphia — her uncle owns Green Eggs Cafe and her grandfather opened Tony’s Tires in South Philly in 1971 — while Bonato is a longtime yoga fan. In the past 12 months, the studio has hosted BYOD (dog) vinyasa flow, horse yoga, piglet yoga and alpaca yoga.
“I always wanted to work with animals,” Durante said.
“It’s a good way to get your foot in through the door if you’ve been intimidated to try yoga in the past,” Bonato added.
Most of Yoga Hive’s events are held at East Passyunk Community Park, thanks to a permit from the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation. The studio donates proceeds from those events to the farms and rescues that supply the four-legged stars of the classes.