Have you heard of goat yoga? Yes, it’s a thing! If you are unfamiliar with the concept, just picture your typical yoga class: you have the mats, the water bottles, the instructor. Got that in your head? Now add goats. That’s basically it!
“Why goats?” you might be wondering. “Do they add some kind of mystical cosmic energy to the class? Are they trained to assist with getting you into some of the more complex poses?” Of course not, don’t be silly. They’re just goats! Truthfully, you will likely get less of a workout here than you would at your average yoga class, because oh my goodness who can ignore these adorable and playful baby goats????
With that being said, in my unscientific opinion, there is a benefit to adding goats to yoga. Just the novelty alone of goats jumping up on your or your neighbors back before you can get into your next pose – I dare say you will laugh more in this class than any other yoga class you’ve ever been to! Well, unless you regularly attend clown yoga, but I’m not so sure that is a thing. Hmmm… clown yoga…. that gives me a marvelous idea! Do me a favor and forget you read that, OK?
In addition to the laughter, there are the GOAT CUDDLES! Just cuddle a goat for a few minutes and you can feel the stress melting away.
My first experience with goat yoga was with three friends at the Grady Goat Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Thonotosassa, FL. Grady Goat uses the funds they receive from goat yoga and other donations to help children with special needs. The story of how they came to start the foundation is very interesting, you can read about it at their website here – but don’t forget to come back and finish reading this post!
The Day of the Class
Grady Goat encourages you to check in up to half an hour early if you’d like to play with the goats before the class starts – so we arrived about 20 minutes early. Parking was a breeze, as was finding correct location of the yoga area – a fenced off section on the farm. We set up our yoga mats inside an enclosed area where a few medium-sized goats (or perhaps fully grown, I’m not an expert on adult goat sizes) lounged around, looking quite content as they relaxed on the yoga mats of people who arrived prior to us.
As we waited for class to begin, we chatted with the owners about the goats and the foundation, and were introduced to our yoga instructor – who seemed to have a very special bond with the goats.
All together there were about 20-25 people in the class. I admit that in those first few minutes before class I was thinking to myself, “Ok, so this is goat yoga. Hmmm… I thought there would be more goats! I thought the goats would be more active! But I guess this is it?”
And then it happened. A cleverly camouflaged gate on the other side of the pen – which we hadn’t previously noticed – was opened… and… well, a video is really the only way I can express what we were all feeling as we were overrun with baby goats!
After the release of the goats, the yoga class officially began. Now, I say “yoga class”, but if we are being completely honest, the experience really is more aptly described as “playing with baby goats, while yoga attempts to happen around you”. We did try to keep up with the poses, but it was so easy to be distracted by the cuteness of it all!
Our yoga instructor was very clear that we didn’t have to worry about following too closely along with the class. “This is probably the only yoga class you will ever have where you are encouraged to take pictures and play! Just have fun!” And believe me, we had fun!
Just imagine trying to get out of cow pose while a goat is chilling on your back… and two more are thinking about joining him!
Our Downward Facing Dog poses were sometimes hindered by a goat inspecting the space underneath, but no one was complaining!
Some of the goats actually seemed as though they were trying to assist us in our poses. This cute little fella hung out behind me and offered his back as support if my leg should become tired.
This little goat appeared to be demonstrating the finer points of Dolphin pose… almost. We’ll just call it “Goat Modified Dolphin pose”.
And this guy seemed to be trying to help with posture adjustment for the perfect Downward Facing Dog!
And of course, there were also plenty of opportunities for goat selfies (with some risk of hair nibbles!)
…and frequent surprise visits by unexpected guests!
I had a GoPro set up to get a few action shots, and one of the goats noticed pretty quickly that something was amiss. Luckily he didn’t try to eat it – goats are much like toddlers in that sense, what can be tasted, will be tasted!
The human class attendees were not the only ones having fun during the class. The goats really seemed to be having a blast, playing with each other or amusing themselves with our water bottles.
We were all having so much fun that the actual yoga class absolutely flew by, but we were allowed to stay around after class for more goat cuddles and plenty of pictures.
Overall, this was an amazing experience that I can’t recommend enough. If you do decide to try it out yourself, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to buy the tickets. Classes fill up fast, and are booked weeks in advance. Don’t let that stop you though – it is so worth the wait!
Now just for fun…
Check out my Instagram post if you want to see a few more pictures!