Admit it, you totally thought this was clickbait, and if you did I can’t blame you. However, truth is stranger than fiction and goat yoga really is a thing. No, there aren’t goats doing tree poses and chatarangas, although I wouldn’t put it past them, but people do practice yoga outside with goats wandering around them. And jumping on top of them. And yes, headbutting them. These are all good things, but we’ll come back to them in a bit.
Author Sarah Jackson examines this fitness mashup in her book, The Beginner’s Guide To Goat Yoga. That’s right, the lady who brought us The Sloth’s Guide To Taking It Easy decided to take us further into this unexpected world than most people might think of.
Our host for the journey into the lesser-known is Gus, a friendly Nigerian dwarf goat, and he hits the ground running.
Basically, goat yoga began in Oregon in some unnamed year on some unnamed farm. An unnamed lady loved goats and wanted them in on her new yoga class. And presto, goat yoga was born. It’s now a nationwide phenomenon and its fans are known as “gogis.” Seriously. Google this. It’s weirdly adorable.
So what makes a goat an ideal yoga companion? And what makes yoga the ideal fitness program to practice with goats?
Well, Gus says, goats are cute. They’re brilliant. They focus better than dogs and cats, who prefer to do their own thing, they’re way less messy than cows and they can move faster than a tortoise. Goats are fearless pioneers who discovered coffee’s miraculous stimulating properties when everyone thought coffee was poisonous. And they can be good at sports. One of them scored a Guiness World Record for being the only goat who rode a skateboard for 125 feet.
Goats have been active in politics as well. A Lejitas, Texas goat, Clay Henry, was elected mayor of the town in 1986. He had a real liking for beer and could famously hoist his own bottles, draining each in ten seconds. Ironically enough, Clay was killed in a drunken brawl by his son, Clay Jr. in 1992 during mating season. Junior, who assumed the office of mayor, ushered in a long line of successors, although none have matched Granddad’s beer-chugging prowess. Lejitas’ current goat mayor is Clay Moore Henry, elected in 2014.
The military has seen quite a few goats as well. Gus tells us they’ve been part of the armed forces since 1775, no doubt to provide milk and possibly meat for the servicepeople. However, one goat, Lance Corporal William Windsor, has the distinction of being demoted for trying to headbutt a drummer during Queen Elizabeth’s birthday.
So now that we know some of the goat world’s achievements, why is yoga a worthwhile sport to have them along for? Could there be something better out there? Hula Hoops, maybe? Air pants? Mermaid swimming?
Nah. We’re here to talk about yoga.
Goats may not be able to do yoga in the same way as humans, but they get around. Tree pose means literally lounging under a tree. Warrior Pose is plain and simple headbutting, which, believe it or not, is a sign of endearment (Odd, I know). Pyramid pose is when goats climb on each other’s backs to eat leaves off of trees. The Mountain pose involves standing on a mountain. Goats are so sure-footed and all. Happy Baby pose is…Happy Baby Pose.
All in all, human yoga looks fairly familiar and comforting to goats. Among other perks it doesn’t have sudden movements, so there’s nothing to freak them out. Yoga can give the goats a little exercise, too. Since they’re natural climbers, there’s nothing to stop them from hopping up on a yogi during a child’s pose or something, which ups the resistance factor for the humans and gives the goats a ride.
Gus does have a few words of caution for aspiring gogis. First of all, don’t wear designer workout gear because one’s goat workout partners might decide to take a little nibble, and they don’t care if the fabric they chomp on is placed in, er, unfortunate spots. They might even chew on someone’s beard or even pocket fluff. Secondly, gogis have to account for changes in the weather, so doing yoga in snow or rain gear is not outside the realm of possibility. It takes serious committment to do a downward dog in a dripping wet raincoat.
Thirdly, and this may be the most awkward bit for everyone, gogis should be prepared to hear and smell wind emitting from their goats. Maybe from both ends at the same time. Goats get gassy. Probably because they’re like little furnaces. And apparently they’re not shy about burping in someone’s ear.
Oh, and goats answer nature whenever it calls, whether the number is one or two. They just go with it.
Small inconveniences aside, gogis are known for their positivity, flexibility, and mindfulness. A little freshening up with lavendar or rosemary doesn’t hurt, either. Just watch out for nettles, says Gus.
The cliche is that necessity is the mother of invention, but in the case of goat yoga, it fills a need people didn’t know they had. It’s strangely cute. It looks fun. And it’s rife for sly humor like in Sarah Jackson’s Guide, a quick little book that just might change minds about goats and get readers thinking about shaking up their workout routine.
A special announcement is coming on the morrow, plus Sally’s Blogathon To Be Thankful For will start on Friday, so hope to see you again soon. Thanks for reading, everyone, and stay safe out there…