Forget about downward dog, how about upward goat? Yoga and goats might not sound like they have anything in common, but baby goat yoga is the newest fitness trend sweeping the nation. It's as silly and fun as it sounds.
Yoga with Goats
People practice yoga for a variety of reasons, from a way to meditate and relax, to a serious core-building workout that makes you sweat. Baby goat yoga offers a completely unique experience. If you've ever tried to do yoga in the same space with your toddler, then you'll have a pretty good idea of what it's like to practice with goats. You probably won't break a sweat, but you'll likely break into a fit of laughter the first time you feel a goat climb onto your back as you bend forward into Child's Pose.
Goat Yoga began on a whim at a birthday party on a farm in Oregon and has since spread across the country. Practicing yoga with a goat simply means that tiny goats will snuggle up and occasionally hop on your back as you go through your poses, the founders say. Of course, much like that yoga-with-a-toddler scenario, it's not always easy to maintain your poses with someone, or some goat, climbing on you. That's all part of the fun, however. While you might not get a hardcore workout, you will definitely be present and mindful throughout the entire experience.
What You Should Know
The goats that participate in yoga are generally not trained in any way, which means that during the class they will pretty much do whatever they want, including climbing on you and cuddling up close (the founding Goat Yoga farm takes some great pictures!). It goes without saying that being comfortable with animals is a prerequisite to the experience. The other thing that's important to keep in mind is that goat yoga isn't meant to be an intensive workout, so if that's what you're looking for, this might not be the best fit.
Despite being a new trend, the classes, which are typically held outdoors, fill up fast, so you'll want to get a jump on finding one in your area if this looks like something you want to try. Once you do, you won't be able to get enough.
The Benefits of Goats
While it might not provide the same flow you're used to in a regular yoga class, what goat yoga will provide is a kind of therapeutic experience that will get you a little bit more in touch with nature while you have some fun. Yoga is generally a quiet and relaxing practice, so it might seem counterintuitive to add untrained animals into the mix, but the goats actually act as therapy animals. Research from the University of California Los Angeles and elsewhere has shown that therapy animals increase mental stimulation, provide comfort, and lower anxiety. Simply petting an animal releases hormones that can elevate your mood, so feel free to give those goats a scratch as you move into your sun salutations.
It might not be the workout you're used to, but yoga with goats is a special experience that will leave you relaxed and, most importantly, happy.
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Why It’s Good
Goats and yoga might sound like a strange combination, but it makes for a one-of-a-kind therapeutic experience. You might not break a sweat, but you will definitely laugh, relax, and be present for every moment.