Goat yoga, it does what it says on the tin
The Year of the Goat has come early thanks to this latest trend in wellness: Goat yoga. Conceived as a form of yoga featuring real-life goats, goat yoga first came to our attention via the Instagrams of Hollywood's finest, from OG vampire queen Kate Beckinsale to funny man Kevin Hart to everyone's favourite Kardashian, Khloe. In case you missed it, here are five things you need to know about it.
It's a craze that materialised through a serendipitous string of events
Caprine vinyasa, or more popularly termed ‘goat yoga’ originated on a farm in Oregon in 2016, and was the wonderful (and entirely accidental) brainchild of farm owner Lainey Morse who found comfort in spending time with her goats after a period of depression following a divorce and an autoimmune disease diagnosis. Morse soon began inviting her friends over to do the same, dubbing the activity “Goat Happy Hour”. One of these friends was a yoga instructor who suggested they conduct yoga classes in Morse’s mountain-view field. From then, the idea went viral and grew legs of its own, with Morse making $160,000 in revenue in her first year of business and the trend making its way over to us across the Atlantic soon after.
The therapeutic benefits of animals are tremendous
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animal therapy has been said to help with physically lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, fostering connections for children with autism, and even diminishing overall physical pain. The mental health advantages are plentiful too, with evidence of animals helping with lowering anxiety, increasing mental stimulation and reducing feelings of loneliness. Goats are said to be the ideal therapy animals as they don’t need to develop a special bond with a human before they start interacting with them, meaning that baby and adult goats will just come up to a stranger asking to be pet.
It’s surprisingly relaxing
Morse describes the experience as a welcome break from one’s usual mindset, and a time for “disconnecting with day-to-day stress, sickness or depression and focusing on positive and happy vibes”. What’s more, it really gets you out of your head. Compared to goat-free yoga environments where the silence and the perfectly positioned yummy-mummies can add to your daily frustrations instead of ameliorating them, goat yoga classes won’t allow you the same freedom to focus on your anxieties, but rather push you into having a hilarious, and weirdly calming time.
What you expect in a typical class
Don’t be daunted – the classes apparently have drawn in those even with zero yoga experience and consist of various poses primarily aimed at beginners. They are open to yoga practitioners of every skill level. During a session, participants are welcome to pet the goats and play with them as much as their heart desires. Emma Aldous, owner of Skylark Farm in Suffolk told The Times: "When the yogis get tired and sit down, the baby goats curl up in their laps for a cuddle." So expect a giggle-filled, concentration-challenging experience of baby goats clambering on your back or licking your feet while you attempt downward facing dog.
Here's where you can take classes
Skylark Farm in Suffolk hosts classes filled with baby goats and taught by local yoga teacher Diana Malone.
Simply Soulful offers seasonal classes from April through to October on the Dartington Estate in Devon.
Mucky Bucket Farm provides the chance to “discover your inner kid” in Hampshire.