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Goat Yoga – What’s All The Hype About?

woman doing goat yoga on pink mat surrounded by little goats

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Among the great number of novelty yoga classes, goat yoga may be one of the better-known inventions.

If the thought of this unusual approach doesn’t make you clutch your pearls, keep reading to learn more about goat yoga.

What is goat yoga?

funny slouched down goat
What is goat yoga?

As the name suggests, goat yoga is a type of practice that involves goats. But how?

The practice itself is not much different from a standard Hatha class. Practitioners roll out their yoga mats and perform asanas, breathing exercises and meditation.

There’s just one thing that makes this type of yoga different from a “normal” class… Baby goats!

Don’t worry, the addition of goats doesn’t require you to do anything beyond the usual things you would expect in a yoga class. The entire purpose of goat yoga is for everyone (humans and goats) to enjoy themselves.

Who invented goat yoga?

The person who first came up with the idea of incorporating baby goats into a yoga practice is Lainey Morse.

In 2016, Lainey was having a hard time, and her goats were among the very few things that brought her solace.

One of Morse’s friends was a yoga instructor who suggested a combination of outdoor yoga practice and adorable baby goats. Thus, the Original Goat Yoga company was born.

This yoga trend quickly gained popularity, sparking goat yoga lessons on farms all over the world.

What kind of goats are used for goat yoga classes?

Throughout the duration of the class, goats interact with practitioners in any way they see fit. Although domestic goats may no longer look like their wild cousins, they love climbing on top of objects and hopping around just as much.

For ease and safety of the students, these classes use smaller breeds of goats, such as Nigerian dwarf goats or Pygmy goats. They are basically a miniature version of domestic dairy breeds.

Even so, only young goats are usually involved in a goat yoga experience.

Benefits of Goat Yoga

goat lying down in front of yogini
Benefits of Goat Yoga

So what attracts people to goat yoga? Does it have any real benefits or is it just a passing fad?

Truthfully, there has not been any scientific research into the phenomenon, but nonetheless various types of positive impact have been reported by those who personally experienced a goat yoga class.

Typical health benefits of yoga

Even before the goats are introduced into the equation, yoga is a well-known way to improve flexibility and balance, increase strength and endurance, sharpen mental focus and boost the immune system.

Reduced stress and anxiety

Although not specific to goats, studies have shown that close interaction with animals helps reduce the levels of cortisol, otherwise known as “the stress hormone”. This is why people with anxiety often find comfort in the presence of an emotional support animal.

Mood enhancement

Think about it. You’re inverted in Downward Dog, when a tiny little goat jumps on your back… Goat yoga is a source of many smiles and laughs for everyone involved!

What to expect from a goat yoga class?

cute little white goat
What to expect from a goat yoga class?

Since goat yoga is not tied to a specific style, it can vary significantly depending on the teacher, venue, and of course, the goats.

The main difference from an ordinary yoga session is that there are cute little goats roaming around while you stretch your hamstrings or strengthen your core.

The goats are pretty much allowed to do whatever they please. Goats love climbing on top of things, including living beings, so don’t be surprised if a kid suddenly jumps on your back!

Due to their therapeutic nature, these yoga lessons are typically not very strict, allowing you to play with the goats if the opportunity presents itself.

Before the class, the teacher will usually brief the students to make sure everyone has a safe and positive experience.

FAQs

Is goat yoga real yoga?

Goat yoga is just as real and valid as other yoga lessons out there. It still features all the elements of traditional yoga practice, including asanas, pranayama, and meditation.

In fact, the addition of baby goats may be the reason someone finally gives yoga a chance, enhancing their life in a variety of ways.

How ethical is goat yoga?

These classes usually take place at hobby farms that only keep goats as pets.

During the actual class, goats are not restricted in any way, and caution is exercised to keep the animals safe.

In short, yes! In general, these classes are ethical, but it’s worth checking with the venue if you are not sure.

How many goats are involved?

Depending on the venue, some baby goat yoga classes may have 2-3 goats roaming around the room.

Other farms may have enough goats for every participant to have a personal practice buddy. That said, nothing is stopping your goat from wandering away in the latter case.

What should I wear to a goat yoga class?

Avoid loose clothing since goats love chewing on such “low hanging fruit”. You should also be prepared for the possibility of clothing ripping or getting dirty.

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