In need of some stress relief? We’re not kidding when we say that yoga classes with goats may be just what you need.
Yoga with animals has been picking up momentum across the country, from cats to dogs and now goats. Goat yoga — yoga practiced among goats — caught fire in Oregon and Arizona, and now the trend has spread to Washington State.
The Wobbly Ranch, a goat sanctuary in Snohomish, Washington, now offers weekly 2-hour goat yoga classes. During the first hour of the session, participants go through an instructor-led yoga class surrounded by wandering goats. Participants are then welcome to stay for the second hour to spend some more time with the goats.
Amanda Leone Carner, co-owner of The Wobbly Ranch, says the goats love the yoga class. “This brings people a lot of joy,” Carner said. “It brings the goats lots of joy, too.”
Credit: Goat Yoga
The practice of yoga with goats began with two distinct styles from Arizona and Oregon. In Oregon, Lainey Morse began offering goat yoga sessions on her farm after yoga instructor Heather Davis said it would be the perfect location to practice poses. Morse started Goat Yoga, which offers several classes per month and even wine tastings after some of the classes.
Arizona Goat Yoga was founded by April Gould, who personally trained with her Nigerian dwarf goats for many years. She would train the goats to go on her back while she did push-ups, planks and squats. After partnering with fitness yoga instructor Sarah Williams, they started Arizona Goat Yoga in a side pasture of Gould’s home.
Credit: Arizona Goat Yoga
Goat yoga is said to relieve the daily stresses of life and bring happiness to the participants. While releasing endorphins from exercising, participants are also increasing oxytocin through pet therapy.
For yoga sessions at The Wobbly Ranch, participants are asked to wear closed-toed shoes and to watch for poop — two things the typical yoga class does not require. Names of some of the poses have been altered as well, such as “downward-facing goat” and “three-legged goat,” to fit in with the theme of the class.
Goats roam freely throughout the classes, sometimes rubbing up against the participants, lying down next to them or just eating the grass near them.
If you’re in need of some stress relief and you have a soft spot for goats, these yoga classes may be something to consider.