Stop kiddin’ around [heehee] – goat yoga? What the heck is goat yoga?! I really had no idea, but I know that I love yoga and I love furry friends – soooo, why not?! Here are all the details, I hope you will give it a try!
Of course I giggled the first time I thought of goats jumping around while people practiced yoga, but then I realized just how awesome and beneficial that could be…for the humans AND for the goats.
We all know how important exercise is for our bodies, and with the concept of animal therapy, or animal involvement in wellness practices, becoming more and more common these days it just makes sense to combine these 2 worlds. Plus, anything that makes you laugh out loud is worth trying right?! Let’s first jump into the benefits that these 2 worlds have…
The Benefits Of Yoga
I LOVE yoga! I really think everyone should give it a try! Research has found that the physical benefits of yoga include: increased flexibility, improved respiration, improved energy, cardio & circular health, weight reduction, maintenance of metabolism, improved muscle strength & toning, decreased chronic pain, improved sleep patterns, and even the lowering of blood pressure.
I mean, for me, it is the only form of exercise that I absolutely love. I do other types, but yoga is so much more than just making shapes and breaking a sweat [or swimming in a lake of your own sweat like I do at hot yoga LOL].
The mental benefits are what really keeps me coming back to my yoga mat regularly. It provides a calming effect, creates mental clarity, decreases stress, sharpens concentration and relaxes the mind [I like to call it peacefulness -yoga truly brings a sense of peace to many aspects of my life].
The Benefits Of Animals
Much research has shown that there is a mutually beneficial relationship that forms between animals and humans. A special bond [I’m not talking about James, but a martini ‘shaken, not stirred’ suddenly sounds yummy *wink*]. That relationship/bond can influence positive heath and wellness benefits.
If you search animal therapy stories online you will find boat loads of affirmative examples, such as a therapy dog who visits with patients and the patient’s pain level quickly decreases or the therapy animal that increases positive social behavior when introduced to children with autism spectrum disorder, just to name a couple.
But, I don’t think you really need to read a bunch of examples to know this. If you have even been a pet owner you automatically know the joy that bond brings. You could have the toughest day ever, and the moment you walk in the door and your pet greets you with genuine, unconditional love all of your worries tend to lessen.
I’m not sure we can even fully measure the benefits or amount of joy animals can bring to our lives. Animals = More Happiness
But, I Have Questions
As mentioned earlier, I really didn’t know what to expect when heading to goat yoga for the first time. Images of little hooves on my back while I balance in downward dog pose entered my mind, but the following questions did also:
- Won’t they eat my yoga clothes and/or hair?
- Where does all the poop go?
- How much yoga will I really be doing because I am going to want to just play with baby goats instead!? Lol
Thankfully, my yogi friend found an amazing place called Sunny Cabana Farms. They are a small family-run farm and micro-dairy in Riverside, California and they made the whole experience A M A Z I N G !
Goat Yoga 101
Turns out…yoga + goats = awesome! First of all, it is outdoors [which helps with any smell concerns you may have] and being as ours was in Riverside in the peak of summer [aka hot like Africa] I was thankful for the sunset class start time of 6 pm. The gates open at 6 but class doesn’t begin until 630 so that you can play with the goats.
This particular farm didn’t have baby goats at the time, but it was noted that the babies [or the Dwarf breeds] would be a bit more energetic [aka baby/Dwarf goat silly] so it is better as they tend to be a bit more distracting. The lady goats they had [Nubian breed] were super sweet and curious. ‘Lucy’ [the white one in all of these photos] was my favorite and she loved to be pet.
BTW…Don’t know what I mean about baby goat silly? Check out my fav video of ‘Buttermilk’ capturing this:
Also, as expected, I just kept giggling the entire time. The yoga instructor explained that usually you try to tune out distractions during yoga but in this situation, just enjoy the critters.
She also mentioned that goats have a calming effect in general. Back in the day, they were put in the stall with race horses before the race to keep the horse calm. I guess you could say they are kind of a universal peace maker for other animals and humans alike.
For this class, it was a total of about 1.5 hours which gives you plenty of time to actually do yoga, play with the goats, and explore this adorable farm. Oh and they fed us fresh goat cheese afterwards *bonus*
Yoga was done on the natural ground so there was dirt, bugs and goat poop involved – BUT I was having so much fun it really didn’t phase me. Really, the only true distraction was flies…but that is just part of the outdoor-farm experience. I definitely need to thoroughly clean my yoga mat after today BUT it is totally worth it! I’m hooked – I LOVE GOAT YOGA!!!
For real, those little goat sounds are everything! Baaaa! Baaa! And their little tails and crazy levels of curiosity and general trouble-making?! OMG, they are just too cute for words!
Sunny Cabana Farms
Kayla and Aaron started Sunny Cabana Farm in Southern California and managed to take 2 acres of drought-ridden dirt and turn it into a beautiful, sustainable farm. They believe that “animals should be animals, kids be kids, and food be food.” I knew I liked this place already, and then it kept getting better…
After their first son was born, Kayla began researching a ton about what we put in and on our bodies in an attempt to pursue a healthier lifestyle. As most people find when researching this topic, there is a lot of really bad product & food out there.
So, she started creating replacements and came up with “Farmaceutical-Grade” skincare products to put on our bodies and growing only organic, natural produce to put in our bodies. They sell their products at a farm stand as well as online, check out the shop here.
Sunny Cabana offers other awesome classes too: “Cut To The Cheese” Workshop that explores cheese making [and tasting], A Farm-To-Table Experience that teaches about the goat milking process and all the uses it has, and a “Goat Milk?” class for anyone who wants to learn more about owning dairy goats and all that entails.
I am a big supporter of the WWOOF [a world wide organization of organic farming that connects volunteers with local organic farmers – I mean, live on a lavender farm in the French countryside for free in exchange for your farming assistance/labor just as an example] and was excited to discover Kayla and Aaron accept WWOOFers. They even have some internship programs available. Be sure to check them out, or if you are local go by to experience the overall cuteness! #basicallymyfavoritefarm
Here are some of my fav Instagram posts of #goatyoga:
How To Find Goat Yoga Near You
Goat yoga is popping up in multiple states across the U.S. lately. Simply search ‘goat yoga near me’ to find a spot. They do sell out tickets quickly, we actually tried multiple times to get tickets at Sunny Cabana Farms and after multiple attempts we got in.
If you don’t have any results/options from the search, I suggest reaching out to a local farm. See if there is any interest in them partnering with a yoga instructor to hold classes on their property. It can be a great way to bring the community together and if they choose to do what Sunny Cabana does, all proceeds go right back into the care/upkeep of the goats and farm.
*Entrepreneur opportunity: if you love yoga and animals – you could even run the entire project, coordinate all of the moving pieces and start your own goat yoga business in the process. [Heck yah man! Follow your heart instead of those dangling carrots!]