Goat yoga is here.
“I’m pretty excited about goat yoga,” said Annalise Coles, an instructor at The Green Lotus Yoga in Cochrane. “Every friend that I know was sending me all the YouTube videos, so I thought, ‘People want this.’”
Goat yoga – which combines soft, gentle stretching with the irresistible cuteness of sweet baby goats – is the latest fitness trend to take over North America.
Farms and barns are fast filling up with classes, where goats are free to roam among the downward dogs, cow faces and cat poses. In Albany, Oregon, where the idea was first conceived, some sessions have waiting lists of more than 1,200 people.
Coles said, while the combination may seem unusual at first, the two seemingly unrelated things actually complement each other quite well.
“Combining yoga and goats is just a way of really embracing nature. That’s the connecting element,” she said. “I think that goats just bring a very peaceful element to anyone, really. They just have qualities of peace and calm – it’s therapeutic to be around baby goats.”
The global fascination with goat-grazing get-togethers inspired Coles to team up with her neighbour Dawn Kay, who owns Early Dawn Goat Dairy in Water Valley, to offer the happy experience here to practitioners who are looking to try it out for themselves.
Since Kay had been working through some joint pain by doing yoga, and Coles had started raising goats on her own acreage – goat yoga was a natural extension for the friends.
The first half-day goat yoga sessions are being offered at the end of this month at Kay’s working dairy farm. The half-day excursion will include a bus ride from Cochrane to Early Dawn dairy and back, an hour of yoga, and some educational and social time as well.
“It’s kind of a neat tie-in,” said Chris Kay, Dawn’s son, who is helping to organize the outing through his company, FreeBird Adventures. “We just found a way to blend this all together.”
Right now, 16 goats are pregnant at the farm. Chris said most mamas should have had their kids before the sessions, making the babies between about one to two weeks old when the yoga retreats take place.
“There could be 30-plus goat kids on the ground soon,” he said.
The actual yoga will take place in the barn, where Coles said the goats “could cozy up to you, they could have a little sleep on your mat or they could have a little climb on you if you’re in a plank position.”
“Goats naturally want to go high,” she said with a laugh. “During a yoga practice, it adds an element of playfulness. “It just sort of lightens the experience.”
FreeBird’s first batch of classes are already half full, so Chris said the group is looking to add more sessions in April and May, when the kids are still young enough to play.
“We’re expecting it to be a pretty cool experience.”