By Michael Gleason
Many yoga poses are named after animals – pigeon, down-dog, and cobra – but only recently have live animals been incorporated into the practice itself. Enter yoga with goats. What started in Oregon and Arizona is moving across the United States. First, this is the chance to become more connected with your animal spirit. While interviewing Sally Susinno, RYT-200 of Wellesley, Mass., she pointed out that, in addition to this being an adorable idea, it is a chance to connect with any and all spirit animals. Susinno did caution that while practicing yoga with a cat or dog climbing on you that goats have hooves and may not be as comfortable and goats are not indoor animals for a reason.
In general, yoga with animals is ok. The fun and comical elements of yoga with goats means having their cuteness likenesses climbing on you during practice. The No Regrets Farm in Oregon had tried yoga with goats on a lark. This leads to either getting deeper into the practice and blocking out the merriment of the goats and kids. Or, because of life’s stresses, getting into your pose and being able to laugh at yourself while the goat tries to nuzzle or cuddle up. It also means watching your balance as to avoid stepping into something uncomfortable. If you are doing the yoga outside or in a barn you will want to wear socks or pack a change or socks and shoes.The Oregon farm, No Regrets, is owned by Lainey Morse. To combat the stresses of everyday life she added her pet goats to her practice and started advertising. As a result, she now has a waiting list. Urbanites are coming out to her farm to utilize the wellness advantages of yoga but also the aesthetic of the goats. Having their cute likenesses and watching them frolic gets a laugh from people who might otherwise may not have been under a lot of stress or just in a bad mood.
Though there currently is not a goat pose in yoga there is already a goat element. A favorite yoga pose is Virabhadrasana or warrior pose. The name of the posture is routed in Hindu mythology. A powerful priest made a sacrifice but did not invite his daughter who was married to the god Shiva. This lead to a serious argument resulting in Shiva creating a Virabhadra (hero + friend) and ordered the destruction of the priest’s guests. After a long ordeal, the priest is reborn but with a goat’s head. It could be argued that yoga with goats was going to be inevitable.
Something else to consider when practicing yoga with goats: these are innocent animals. In this modern age of virtual reality and needing technology more and more to stay connected yoga with goats means seeing something in nature that is innately playful. In addition, the comical antics of the goats running under people’s legs during partner yoga and bridge pose, the lack of stress from these animals means they are nimbler. Think of the people in your current and past yoga classes who are there to rush through the poses and get into corpse pose and then leaving. Seeing a flexible animal parade around means stopping and looking at your postures and your level of fun.
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