This article was featured in WYDaily on 2/10/23.
The adoptable pets of The Heritage Humane Society are inviting community members to discover just how natural and fulfilling yoga can be in their lives. Upcoming yoga sessions are scheduled right at the shelter, affectionately known as the pets own yoga studio. Led by certified yoga instructor, Jessica Ruff, and inspired by the shelter’s furry friends, participants will enjoy practicing their poses, discovering new poses, purr-fecting their stretches, and calming their minds to either conquer their days, or take a well-earned nap.


“Animal lovers and yoga enthusiasts share a passion for their respective favorites, so combining yoga with pets is proven how exercise, fun, and relaxation from both can amplify the benefits for participants,” shares Kimberly Laska, Executive Director of The Heritage Humane Society. “We’re excited to welcome participants to experience for yoga sessions at our community room at our newly expanded shelter where they can practice yoga right where many of our community’s adoptable pets call their temporary home as they wait to connect with their forever families.”

Practicing Downward Dog and Cat/Cow

Dogs and cats make stretches and poses look so easy and rewarding. With these special yoga sessions, participants will also enjoy the same while meeting some furry friends in person. Two specially themed yoga classes are planned for Feb. 14 and March 18. Jessica Ruff of Jessica Ruff Yoga will lead beginners and more-experienced yoga practitioners, alike.
Attendance is open to everyone. Sessions will take place at The Heritage Humane Society in their large multipurpose room, a part of their new addition that opened last year. Filled with plenty of natural sunlight and bordered on one side with windows overlooking one of the cat colony rooms and featured dog rooms in another direction, the airy space is filled with the unconditional love of pets while practicing unconditional self-love of yoga.
Each of the upcoming hour-long sessions feature gentle yoga that will open all lines of the body in a fluid and accessible way. Accessible to yogis of all levels and beginner-friendly, modifications will be offered to meet the needs of all personal practices. Mark your calendars for one or both of the following:
• Be My (Yoga) Valentine is Feb. 14, 2023 at 12 – 1 p.m. Treat yourself to self-love with this Valentine’s Day session and meet some adorable, adoptable dogs at the end. Visit this Be My Yoga Valentine Facebook events page to learn more and show your interest.


 Yoga with Cats is March 18, 2023 at 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Visit this Yoga with Cats Facebook events page to learn more and show your interest.

Community members are invited to bring their mats and take part in these special wellness sessions for just the cost of the donation amount of their choosing. All proceeds will benefit the homeless pets of The Heritage Humane Society. Carpooling is recommended if possible.
Ruff is a long-practicing yoga educator and Vinyasa teacher, E-RYT-200, RYT-500, YACEP, and a lululemon Ambassador. On January 11, she led her first yoga class to benefit the homeless pets at The Heritage Humane Society. Held at Frothy Moon Brewhouse, the event drew 50 participants who, in lieu of a set class price, each made a donation to the shelter, while also benefiting from a rewarding yoga experience. Realizing this was a popular collaboration within the community led Ruff to want to do additional sessions and this time, right at the shelter where the benefiting, adoptable animals live as they wait for their forever homes.
“I teach yoga because I love sharing a practice that is beneficial to our physical, emotional, and mental health, especially when we practice within a community,” shares Jessica Ruff, yoga instructor. “Teaching donation classes increases access to yoga, and pairing it with a charity like The Heritage Humane Society makes an even bigger impact. I’ve always loved animals of all kinds, so if I can benefit them while doing what I love–that’s a win for everyone involved.”


More opportunities to share the love with shelter pets

Join in the Valentine’s celebration at The Heritage Humane Society with two engaging opportunities.
• Hearts for Homeless Pets. Now through Feb. 14, 2023, the shelter is selling Hearts for Homeless Pets. For a donation of $10 or more, people can select from a heart that is in honor or memory of a pet lover or pet, or one the is dedicated to an adoptable shelter pet. Each heart can include a name or message. The festive pink and red hearts are beginning to fill the shelter’s Adoption Center. The hearts can be purchased through the Hearts for Homeless Pets Facebook eventonline, or in person at the shelter from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
 Guess the Conversation Hearts. The Heritage Humane Society is also calling on a Valentine’s classic – Conversation Hearts. A fond childhood memory for many, the flavored confections with messages like “CALL ME,” “I LUV YOU,” and “I’M YOURS,” and “CUTIE PIE,” are a part of a contest at The Heritage Humane Society. Come by the shelter to see the guessing jar filled with the sweet treats in the front lobby. A $5 donation earns one guess and a $10 donation earns three guesses. The winner will receive a $50 Target gift card and a $50 Movie Tavern gift card. The winner will be drawn and contacted on Feb. 15, 2023.


Adoptable yoga partner pets

The Heritage Humane Society has almost 200 adoptable catsdogs, and small pets hoping to find their forever families. Here are a couple who are eager to no longer be homeless.
Hank. He goes by Hank the Tank, but don’t let that nickname fool you – this pup is a big ol’ softy. If you are looking for a companion who will be by your mat during yoga stretches to cheer you on and give you the occasional lick of encouragement – Hank is your yoga dog. This three-year-old hunk is known for his love of being with people. When he is not napping or snuggling, Hank is quite content perfecting his favorite, self-created yoga pose – he calls it the Happy Hank. It is where he rolls over, stretches his legs, and demands belly scratches.

Snuggles. Are you looking for an experienced yoga instructor? Allow The Heritage Humane Society to introduce you to Snuggles. She is a calico cutie that has been purr-fecting her yoga poses for four years. Affectionate and cuddly, Snuggles’ practices both well-known poses and others that are new and quite unique to her. She does have some sage advice for when you practice yoga – don’t be afraid to create your own poses, relax and breathe with thoughts of catnip, and finally, don’t forget to stretch.

Hank, Snuggles, and the other adoptable pets are available during The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours from 12 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. through Sun.
To learn more, visit, call 757-221-0150, or visit The Heritage Humane Society located at 430 Waller Mill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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