Have you heard of goat yoga or baby goat yoga? I jumped at the chance to attend a class on my recent trip to Austin, Texas so I could answer the question, what the heck is goat yoga and why on earth would I want to do it?!
I’ve been hearing reports of people taking yoga classes with baby goats for a while now, and I’ve been intrigued, to say the least. As a city person who nerds out on all things to do with plants and animals, I dream of living the farm life. An invite to visit any farm or garden is a default “yes” from me.
On my recent trip to Austin, Texas–where I toured the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center—my friend Jenny Nybro Peterson, author of the Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion and Indoor Plant Decor, invited me to her urban homestead, Berkeley Farm, for Baby Goat Yoga. And let me tell you…it was a blast!
Jenny’s Farm has a bunch of young goats that have been socialized since they were born. They really do love to meet people for scratches, snuggles, and yoga of course! Jenny tells a great story about taking the newborns to Happy Hour at local patio, and all the people she, and the kids, get to meet.
The goats that joined us on the mats were a year old and younger and they were eager to cuddle and play during the 50-minute yoga session. After yoga, we got a chance to cuddle the two sweet newborn babies and we were treated to chocolate cherry herbal smoothies. Jenny also has a virtual wellness membership site and a free herb-lover’s smoothies book I encourage you to download.
Jenny messaged me after I got back home to say that the class after the one I attended got to witness two births after their class! It’s always exciting at Berkeley Farm. If you are ever in Austin, be sure to take in one of the events at Berkeley Farm.
So, What Is Goat Yoga?
As crazy as it sounds, goat yoga is a real thing. Most classes are held on a farm that raises goats. The class happens in an enclosed area with baby goats who will trot around or hop in your lap for a cuddle. They’ll walk all over or climb on you while you practice yoga. The farm owner or instructor might encourage the goats to climb atop your back with a strategically placed treat – although Berekely Farm just lets the goats be goats and they do their thing while you do yours.
The first person to offer goat yoga was Lainey Morse, founder of Original Goat Yoga. There is a waitlist over 2,000 people long for classes and participants have traveled from Japan and Australia to come to one of her classes. Morse invented baby goat yoga by accident when some friends came to visit her newly purchased farm in Oregon. They found spending time with the goats Morse had always dreamed of raising to be stress-relieving.
While the group was standing out in a field admiring the scenery, one of Morse’s friends, a yoga instructor, remarked that the field would be a great place to have a yoga class. Morse warned her friends that the goats would climb all over them during yoga, but they thought that would make it even better.
During this first informal goat yoga class, Morse, who worked in marketing, took a few photos and sent them over to Modern Farmer. They quickly contacted her about doing a story, and goat yoga was up and running. Now, she’s holding classes at three locations and goat yoga is popping up around the world at family farms.
Benefits of Goat Yoga
I’m pretty sure that the combination goats and yoga definitely does good things for participants, which was evident by the endless laughter and smiles beaming from me and the other ladies in my class. Anyone looking for scientific studies on how the health benefits before adding this to their fitness routine, is unfortunately missing the point. Goats are silly and social animals while yoga is a non-competitive and personal practice. If goat yoga sounds good to you, then give it a try and see how it feels. If not, then skip it and enjoy my photos of the experience.
I invited a few friends who gave me an enthusiastic (but polite) no thank you! which was quite the opposite of my reaction. Those who attend generally say that it’s a stress-relieving experience and brings a smile to their face. There are also the benefits received from yoga practice itself, however relaxed the class is. Yoga is known to decrease stress, anxiety, and inflammation; to increase strength, flexibility, and balance; and to be good for the heart, among other things. While goat yoga may not be the cardiac workout of, say, Bikram yoga, getting outside and moving your body with animals is still providing physical benefit in addition to the laughs and memories.
What to Bring
If you’re attending a goat yoga class, check to see if you need to bring your own mat or if the farm will provide one. You may want to bring an older mat. These baby goats are animals after all and they just might poop, pee, or chew on your mat while you’re in class. The same goes for your clothes and shoes! In my class there were a few gals who got the brunt of it which caused us all to have some big belly laughs.
When looking for goat yoga classes, make sure they’re being taught by a certified yoga instructor. Adding baby goats to yoga is fun, but they also provide a distraction during physical activity. You want a trained instructor who can help keep you safe and get the most out of practicing yoga with goats! The instructor at Berkeley farm was both experienced and focused on yoga, while allowing the class to enjoy the goat company and not taking it too seriously. She offered an exceptional balance and really made the class a joy to participate in.
How Much Does Goat Yoga Cost?
The cost of goat yoga classes depends on your location and the popularity of the classes there. Morse’s classes at Original Goat Yoga run $35, while a class at Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California costs between $50 and $66, depending on whether you add a buffet lunch. Jenny’s classes at Berkeley Farm are about $35 for 50 minutes of yoga and one of Jenny’s signature herbal smoothies.
How to Find Goat Yoga Near Me
The best way to find a goat yoga class near you is to search a site like Eventbrite or Facebook Events. They will let you know which classes are close to your location and whether or not tickets are still available. You can also Google “goat yoga near me” and that should bring up classes as well.
My final tip is to make sure to purchase a ticket beforehand. Many goat yoga classes sell out beforehand or even have a waitlist. This is an experience you won’t want to miss!
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