by Tammie McKay

As yoga increases in popularity, so do the number of yoga variations. Yoga is a great way to exercise—especially for those who want to relax or are seeking inner peace. People have been practicing yoga for over 5,000 years, with more becoming involved every year. Yoga can be used to enhance strength, increase mental well-being and improve overall health. It can also be an intense workout requiring deep concentration and focus. While it may seem counterproductive, and even silly, to introduce goats into a mindful exercise. Goat Yoga is a crazy fitness trend that has hundreds of people lining up to try it.

What is Goat Yoga?
Goat Yoga is meant to be a relaxed form of yoga, consisting of various poses at a beginner level. Classes are held in a group setting with baby or miniature goats present during the class. Goats have a reputation for climbing and are playful animals. The goats are free to roam around, snuggle up to and even jump on yoga participants as they transition from pose to pose. It is not uncommon to see the goats jump on the back of a yogi while in the plank position. The light pressure from the goats’ hooves can provide a little massage as they move to keep their balance.

The Origin of Goat Yoga
A few years ago in Willamette Valley, Oregon, Lainey Morse started Goat Yoga classes. Morse said the idea first came to her during a rough time in her life. She said, “It’s impossible to be sad and depressed when there’s baby goats jumping around.” Already having goats as pets on her farm, the idea originally started as a goat happy hour where people would spend time with the animals while enjoying a glass of wine. When hosting a children’s birthday party with the goats, a yoga instructor asked if she could hold a class in Morse’s field. Morse told her the goats would have to join in and would be all over the participants. The yoga class was a great success, and Goat Yoga was born.

Benefits of Goat Yoga
You may not get the intense workout a traditional yoga session provides, Goat Yoga cheers you up and delivers a break from life’s stresses through animal-assisted therapy. The goat interaction calms you down and improves your mood. The simple act of petting an animal releases serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. These chemicals lower anxiety, provide comfort and increase mental stimulation. Goat Yoga can provide an escape from the negativities in life while exercising the mind and body. There is a plethora of health benefits associated with Goat
Yoga, to include:
» Lowered blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health
» Slowed breathing in anxious persons
» Diminished physical pain
» A more relaxed exercise session
» Rebalanced endocrine system
Despite the fact that Goat Yoga may not be a rigorous new workout routine, it definitely has the potential to be an enjoyable and relaxing technique worth trying. After all, who among us could resist the allure of an adorable baby goat while practicing yoga?