Doing yoga with goats! — Photo courtesy of Lois Alter Mark
You don’t have to know the difference between downward dog and tree pose to fall in love with this hot new trend. Doing yoga with goats is way more about the goats than the yoga, and it’s so joyful, you’ll feel the therapeutic benefits immediately.
Lainey Morse founded Goat Yoga last summer, and the response was so overwhelming, she’s only getting through the 900-person waitlist now. “It’s impossible to do Goat Yoga and not feel extreme happiness,” she says. “It makes you disconnect from day to day stress, illness or whatever issue you’re having. It’s my form of animal-assisted therapy.”
During a Goat Yoga class, the goats wander freely, making themselves comfortable on guests’ backs, in their laps, on their heads, often striking hilarious poses of their own.
“You just have to say the name and people smile,” laughs Morse. “When a goat comes towards them and they get to snuggle, they lose their minds.”
Here are 10 places you can experience the joy yourself. Na-maaaaaa-ste.
Goat Yoga l Portland, Ore.
Goat Yoga — Photo courtesy of Goat Yoga
This is where it all began, and Lainey Morse is still trying to keep up with the demand by holding four classes a week with her No Regrets Farm goats.
The most popular class of the moment is Goat Yoga and Wine Tasting. “We’re right in the middle of the vineyard, with 360-degree views of Oregon wine country,” she says. “We do Goat Yoga and then we have Goat Happy Hour.”
I’d argue that every hour with the goats is happy hour.
Arizona Goat Yoga l Gilbert, Ariz.
Arizona Goat Yoga — Photo courtesy of Meghan Cyr
I took a class here with a couple of friends, and so began my obsession with doing yoga with goats. I assure you that the endorsement posted on their fence, “This is the best day of my life!” – crediting the quote to “Everybody at Goat Yoga” – is not an exaggeration.
Sarah Williams, who’s been teaching yoga for 20 years, bonded with “goat whisperer” April Gould over their time together on American Ninja Warrior, and they created an oasis in the middle of the desert.
According to Williams, “If you have goats doing yoga with you, you’ll be a little happier. You can pet them and relieve stress. It releases endorphins and oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’). Yoga and goats together is a cure for all kinds of things, especially sadness.”
Victoria Lavender Farm l Vancouver Island, B.C.
Victoria Lavender Farm — Photo courtesy of Victoria Elliott
Alan Mayfield has been raising Nigerian Dwarf goats for four years, and saw the smiles they brought to the faces of guests who were coming to visit the lavender farm he started in 2001. He decided to offer yoga with them, and was happily surprised when a Facebook ad for the first class received 19,000 hits. The enthusiasm is still going strong.
“I’m very happy with the respect all the students show to the animals, which, of course, is my number one priority,” says Mayfield. “Students are kind and gentle to the goats, and they receive the same treatment back.”
Luna Sage Acres l Melbourne, Fla.
Luna Sage Acres — Photo courtesy of Luna Sage Acres
This small goat farm is known for its homemade goat milk soap, and they give a bar as a take-home gift to each guest who attends one of their yoga with goats events in Brevard County.
“Our goats love going on field trips!” laugh farmers Corey and Raina Hammond. “Being mobile offers a variety of landscapes and environments, and takes yoga enthusiasts out of the four walls of their traditional classes.”
At each class, Luna Sage Acres provides education on goat care, the opportunity to try milking and a Goat Yoga Selfie Station. They’ve also teamed up with Lifting Hands International’s #GatherForGoats project to help fund goats for Syrian refugee families.
Hux Family Farm l Durham, N.C.
Hux Family Farm — Photo courtesy of Hux Family Farm
This small family-owned farm offers a full relaxation program, including yoga with goats and sheep as well as guided meditation with goats and sheep. “It helps us not take ourselves quite so seriously,” Matthew Hux and Amanda Avery explain on their website.
If you want more goat time, you can even book a private yoga class with their Nigerian Dwarf goats. And, for kids who dislike reading, Goat Reading Therapy provides a no-pressure, fun environment for them to practice reading aloud to the goats.
Purpose Farm l Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Purpose Farm — Photo courtesy of Purpose Farm
Purpose Farm is a non-profit, free youth mentorship program and animal rescue. It pairs kids who have emotional trauma from neglect, abuse or bullying with animals who have been rescued from similar circumstances.
“Building relationships is what we’re all about,” says Sandra Seabrook, president and founder. “What better way to bring people from the community together while raising funds? The goats get a play day, and the other animals get visitors for the day. It’s a win-win!”
The Wobbly Ranch l Seattle
The Wobbly Ranch — Photo courtesy of The Wobbly Ranch
All the goats who live at the Wobbly Ranch and participate in yoga were rescued from deplorable conditions. The name itself honors Trippy, a three-legged Boer goat whose love, silly personality and strength inspired owner/director Amanda Leone to create a sanctuary for animals in need.
“The goats love the attention they get during yoga, and class fees help us make our property a safe place for 'wobbly ones' who may not otherwise find their forever home,” explains Leone. “After all, we are all a little wobbly.”
The Blissful Goat l San Marcos, Calif.
The Blissful Goat — Photo courtesy of The Blissful Goat
Dr. Star Bailey, DC, RND, is a licensed chiropractor and registered naturopathic doctor who originally brought goats to her farm because their milk contained healing properties that would help ease her symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
When she realized the animals had a temperament that was healing in itself, she introduced yoga classes with them to the public. “It’s not hard-core yoga but an opportunity for spiritually connecting with yourself, nature and the goats,” says Bailey. “The Alpine goats’ fur is silkier than other breeds, making the experience just a little more blissful to the mind, body and soul.”
Jenness Farm l Nottingham, N.H.
Jenness Farm — Photo courtesy of Jenness Farm
The home of New Hampshire’s first yoga with goats classes, Jenness Farm holds classes inside its shop, where they sell their homemade goat milk soap and a full line of bath and body care products.
After the video of the original class received over 39 million views, they knew this was not a passing trend. With a high goat-to-student ratio, there’s such a demand for classes that Jenness Farm is now transforming the third floor of their barn into a dedicated yoga studio.
Mountain Flower Goat Dairy l Boulder, Colo.
Mountain Flower Goat Dairy — Photo courtesy of Julia Vandenoever Photography
Yes, you can do yoga with goats even in the middle of a city! Mountain Flower Goat Dairy is located on a historic urban farm property in downtown Boulder, just a mile north of Pearl Street, the main drag.
This non-profit goat dairy works to educate the community and children about where their food comes from and how to farm in a way that is gentle on the earth and the animals. When not participating in yoga, their nine milking goats provide milk for over 200 households.
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