Next weekend, yogis will gather for the Downward Dog for Dogs: Reboot  to raise funds for two animal shelters. Picture: Supplied
Next weekend, yogis will gather for the Downward Dog for Dogs: Reboot to raise funds for two animal shelters. Picture: Supplied

For many fitness fanatics, keeping in shape is all about looking and feeling good. But for a group of yoga devotees in Cape Town, it has a deeper meaning - they exercise to benefit their furry friends.

Next weekend, they will gather for the fourth Downward Dog for Dogs: Reboot to raise funds for the Lucky Lucy Foundation and Change for the Better, shelters that work to improve the welfare of animals.

The event, organised by founder Michelle Jeanne Banwell, will be held on Saturday at Century City Bootleggers Coffee Company from 9.30am and is set to continue throughout the day.

Instead of paying for a yoga class, people will be asked to make a donation to the shelters.

These donations can be in the form of money or things such as pet food, towels, blankets, toys and bowls.

Banwell, who is a yoga teacher, said she came up with the idea of a charity event after thinking about ways she could combine her passion for animals with her love for yoga. She also wanted to create a platform for others to give back.

“I found that although many people want to help, they often aren’t quite sure how to do so. I’ve frequently heard people asking about where to donate, what type of things they can do, how they can get involved with animal shelters."

Many people lacked the time to help regularly."Most people can’t commit to weekly volunteering and so even though they have good intentions, they don’t know how to translate this into action,” she said.

Seeing animal shelters struggling to cope with the large number of animals needing help and to run sterilisation programmes, prompted her to take action.

“Shelters simply don’t have the resources to do this alone and every small donation helps.”

There will be one yoga class on Saturday, said Banwell.

“This is open to all levels of fitness and yoga experience. You don’t need to be able to touch your toes to join. This will be a Vinyasa yoga class, which is a dynamic practice that focuses on moving the breath and the body in synchronicity.”

For those who aren’t into yoga, coffee, fresh juices, brunch and puppy cuddles will also be on offer.

Chef Patrick Blackie, from Edgemead, said while he was not a yoga fan, he was planning to go to the event because he loves animals.

“Because of the nature of my job, I can’t volunteer or assist at animal shelters. So, this is an opportunity for me to give back to our furry friends,” he said.

Another supporter of the initiative Brad Buttner, who is going for the second time, said the event drew a lot of fitness lovers, making it a great way for people who might not want to go to shelters to contribute to animal welfare.

He said the nicest thing about the day was people got fit in the process of helping animals. “Yoga is a workout session and can be intense and challenging.”

This year he is also looking forward to the social aspect of the event.

Tickets will be available on the day for R20 and payments can be made via SnapScan.