SACO — Yoga is all about focus and concentration, but at the Samudra Studio on Saturday the 20 yoga students found a lot of distractions.

Five 14-week-old kittens, rescued by the Homeless Animal Rescue Team – or HART – in Cumberland, pounced and romped around them as they moved from mountain pose to downward-facing dog and on to child’s pose.

“Find your point of focus or your kitten of focus,” said yoga instructor Sarah Spiegel, who has been operating the studio at 200 Main St. for the past six months.

Lauren Bean, with Carla Mahaney, gives a kitten some love before yoga class Saturday at the Samudra Studio in Saco. Five kittens roamed about during the session to keep away negative energy.

Lauren Bean, with Carla Mahaney, gives a kitten some love before yoga class Saturday at the Samudra Studio in Saco. Five kittens roamed about during the session to keep away negative energy. Joel Page/Staff Photographer Joel Page/Staff Photographer

The students were participating in what may have been Maine’s very first cat yoga class. Spiegel got the idea from a friend in Washington, D.C.

“She told me about it and I thought I must do this,” Spiegel said.

Spiegel said that yoga and cats seemed like a natural fit. She said even though yoga is about focus, it is easy to find the mind wandering, sometimes in a negative direction.

“So I thought this was a way to have positive thoughts instead,” said Spiegel, who has taught yoga for about four years.

The concept immediately caught on and the class quickly filled up, with half studio regulars and the rest self-described animal lovers.

The response was so strong that Spiegel said she plans to organize another cat yoga class in January.

Sarah Spiegel, right, leads a yoga class Saturday in Saco. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Sarah Spiegel, right, leads a yoga class Saturday in Saco. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

On Saturday the students erupted in giggles as the kittens scampered around the room. Some abandoned their poses completely to spend one-on-one time with the felines.

“I love it. My two favorite things in the world are yoga and animals. You put them together and I will never want to leave,” said Jennifer Willett of Portland.

The session also served as a fundraiser for HART, a nonprofit shelter for cats founded in 1997 and run by about 80 volunteers. The $20 fee to attend the class was donated to the animal shelter. Students also donated food, litter and cat toys.

Four of the five kittens at the class recently arrived at HART from Tennessee. The fifth was from Vassalboro.

All of the kittens rescued by HART spend their kittenhoods with foster families so they are well-socialized. HART has a strong record in getting them adopted, said Lisa Gamage, a HART volunteer.

SACO, ME Ð DECEMBER 1: Tien Quang plays with a kitten before the start of a yoga class Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 in Saco, Maine. The yoga studio had kittens at the session as part of a pet adoption effort. (Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer)

Tien Quang plays with a kitten before the start of a yoga class Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 in Saco, Maine. The yoga studio had kittens at the session as part of a pet adoption effort. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

About 110 adult cats live “free range” at the Cumberland shelter.

Sarah Michniewicz, a HART volunteer, said the yoga class was beneficial for the kittens.

“It is good to expose them to new environments, ” Michniewicz said.

Spouses Libby and Veronica Newport of Westbrook broke their poses to each hold a tiny calico kitten that caused a commotion on one side of the room. The couple said when they heard about the class they decided they couldn’t pass it up.

“It is about opening up your heart. It is about opening up your heart to kittens. You just feel good,” Veronica Newport said.

Rachel Beyea of Scarborough said the kittens were so distracting that she barely did any yoga. She said she formed a close bond with an all-black male kitten named Winky instead.

She was heavily contemplating adopting the kitten at the end of the class.

“We are in love,” Beyea said.

Correction: This story was updated at 10:10 a.m. on Dec. 4 to correct the number of cats that live “free range” at HART’s Cumberland shelter. There are about 110, not 150.