Inner cottontailed peace

Downward dog or downward rabbit, strike a yoga pose while being surrounded by friendly rabbits.

By Derek Schlennstedt

There are cat cafes, dog cafes, even goat yoga, and now a collaboration between the Dandenong Ranges Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage and yoga instructor India Barnard has resulted in something that’s both cute and cathartic.
For the majority of people as we get back into the rhythm of work and life, the motivation to exercise begins to wilt, but would working out in the company of adorable bunny rabbits give you a boost?
Fortunately, this is exactly what the Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage (RRO) in conjunction with Yoga Instructor and founder of The Generous Yogi, India Barnard is offering.
Unfortunately though, Bunny Yoga is currently only available at one location in Melbourne – a city in the midst of a rabbit overpopulation crisis.
“Pet rabbits are being abandoned in streets and parks across the city and the orphanage in conjunction with the Generous Yogi are hoping to shed some light on this plight,” Dr Judi Inglis, founder of RRO said.
“I did some figures and we’ve taken in seventy four rabbits since November, and that’s huge within three months and that’s not including February.”
“We’re getting calls from Werribee, Bundoora, everywhere.”
During the $31.20 hour class, 30 yoga members have to be particularly careful about where they put their feet as anywhere between 10 and 16 rabbits hop around the room, under posing legs and arms.
Now in its fourth session, India and Judi came up with the idea in the hope that classes would encourage people to adopt rescued rabbits and to raise awareness of the problems the creatures face.
“Basically I always wanted to animal yoga and rabbits are my favourite animal so I thought yeah let’s give it a shot,” India said.
“All the sessions so far have sold out … I do very slow, very basic movements , no jumping, and it’s all a bit bizarre.
“The bunnies relax, they do their little binkies (a happy rabbit expression) and jump on people… the bunnies really love it and so do the people.”
Of course India also promotes the need to take care of the animals properly and many of the bunnies in the classes are available for adoption.
“I promote good rabbit care and try to find them a good home …we advocate that their up for adoption,” said India.
“There’s always a lot of people asking for adoption afterwards.
The yoga poses are done in several fenced off sections with each section containing a number of bunnies.
All the funds raised go towards the RRO and the next session will be held on Sunday 4 March at Mark Street Hall in Fitzroy.
To book tickets visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/bunny-yoga-tickets-42375543391

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