It’s a weird and quirky fitness fad. Goat yoga.
Yes. Goats and yoga.
I flew out east to visit a girlfriend and she booked us for a goat yoga class at a farm nearby her home.
Unfortunately, my back wasn’t in great shape so I wasn’t able to join in the ‘fun’. At first I was upset, but once things got started…the last thing I wanted was a goat jumping on my back while in tabletop position.
Since the tickets were non-refundable I went along to witness goat yoga. We were instructed to bring a towel, but not a yoga mat. We arrived at the farm, parked and walked toward a penned in grassy area.
About 20 women, and zero men, were seated on top of their towels. Beneath the towels were thin yoga mats with varying degrees of filth. The goats were brought in after we were advised that anything we had inside the pen was subject to getting chewed on by the goats, including our clothes and hair.
The instructor said that the goats we would work with that day were destined to be pets or shown as a part of 4-H. Goat yoga, we were told, helps the goats socialize with humans. Apparently the goats can start joining classes at 8 weeks old. We were informed that our goats were at the eldest range (translation: also their heaviest weight) and would soon be replaced by younger versions.
There was one instructor for yoga and one woman in charge of wrangling the goats. The wrangler brought in the goats and one proceeded to urinate on a yoga mat. Another defecated near the yoga instructor. The others started munching on purse straps and whatever long grass was sticking through the pen.
I was not amused.
I spent the remaining time fending off the goats. And by fending off I mean gently pushing away any goats that made a motion to nibble on my clothes. For the more persistent goats, there was one that was very keen on my shoes laces (there was no way I was going barefoot in this place…neither did anyone else), I stood up and walked away. The goats quickly found easier prey, like the hair on the head of the woman sitting to my right.
My girlfriend didn’t mind getting her socks chewed on.
All in all, there was more watching of goats than there was yoga. Even the instructor said that she didn’t care if we followed along with her instructions, but that she would give a class and we could choose to perform the poses or mess with the goats. The goats won.
The minute anyone went into a tabletop position goats would gravitate to that person and jump on them. We were instructed that when a goat was on you, you could not move. The goats left when it suited them. The concern was that surprising the goats by trying to get them off your back might cause them to become unstable and hurt themselves.
At the end of the class the instructor and goat wrangler put the participants in a few staged poses to increase the likelihood of a goat scrambling on top of you. The first pose was a pyramid. The second was a double plank pose. The final position was placing the group in a long line of tabletop pose.
My girlfriend mentioned that she wished she had been told to flex her back muscles while in the tabletop position because it hurt when the goats were galloping across her. Had she known to flex there would have been less hoof to dig into her back.
As the event came to a close many of the women had lost bits of their hair to the goats and had hoof scrapes, cuts and welts on their neck, shoulders, arms and back. A few made comments out loud about how uncomfortable and painful it was to have the goats climbing on them.
I promptly washed my hands before getting back in the car and thoroughly enjoyed my shower that evening.
The next time someone suggests doing some goat yoga…I’ll paaaaaaaass.