Well, Summer’s officially here!
It’s time to soak up some sun, sip on some Mai Tai’s, and then end the day in downward dog on your yoga mat under the cool breeze. However, depending on where you’re getting into your downward dog position you may discover a friend making their way onto your back. This friend is small, furry, and certainly not human, and when you lift your head up get ready to be face to face with a goat! That’s right – goat yoga is here and looks like its here to stay! So many questions as a yogi myself comes to mind – the most obvious one is why goats? Why not puppies, rabbits…a cockatoo? When did this strange phenom begin and, most importantly does this work for you? You might be surprised to find out that the journey to making goat yoga is more inspirational than you goat simply climbing on your back, and at the end of this, it maybe for you.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly how goat yoga began, but I can give credit to the woman who trademarked and popularized it. Her name is Lainey Morse from Oregon, who simply wanted goats but never had the means to access them. When given the chance she got a copy of Raising Goats for Dummies, and actual goats, and went to work on her farm. So did the idea of goat yoga immediately pop into her mind – not quite. After a divorce Lainey was diagnosed with Autoimmune disease, and understandably so fell into a depression. She found solace in spending time with her goats, and felt like her friends would enjoy the opportunity too. Thanks to a friend who was a yoga instructor, she took in the scenary before her and figured that yoga would be perfect there. Lainey chewed on the idea but was concerned about goats being everywhere, to which her friend said “Cool.”
Using her PR background Lainey took some photos of the first goat yoga class, sent them to a local organization, and it caught on like wildfire. But that wasn’t the end of Lainey’s struggles. She suffered many setbacks financially, and materially. Her biggest challenges were becoming attacked by Animal rights activist, finding ways to be insured for goat yoga (though getting hurt by a baby goat is slim), and having people steal her name and idea. Fortunately though she was able to bounce back, and help people fulfill their want of doing goat yoga. She trademarked the name Original Goat Yoga, created a merchandise line, and so far is doing extremely well. So that leaves the last question of why is goat yoga so popular, how has it caught on?
Well, other than having an actual goat climb on your back, reviews say that it is a cathartic and wonderful experience. The hooves on the goat can actual provide a bit of massage as they balance themselves on your back. It also has always been noted that positive thearuptic experiences come from humans interacting with animals. One touching story, that Lainey speaks too is how a woman almost cancelled her appointment due to her husband being diagnosed with cancer and not wanting to leave him. However she came and stated she was so glad she did because “it was my first time smiling in 6 months.” If that’s not enough persuasion, instead of the rigorous positions and poses one may do in hot yoga, or an advanced yoga class the poses in goat yoga tend to be drastically different. These poses tend to focus more on downward dog, cradle pose, and other softer positions – why – well, you try getting a goat to stand on you in crane pose.
Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to partake in goat yoga, but you can bet I am signing up for the first class I can find. Hopefully, you all will be there to join me!