Trending hard: goat yoga
CrossFit, Spinning, Pole Dancing, TaeBoZoombaYogilates...
If you're an early adopter who takes pride in jumping trends, you still have time to get in on the ground floor with the latest cult fitness fad. That ground floor, by the way, is covered in yoga students, hay and a bit of goat poop, so mind where you stick that landing and lay your mat. Enter the dawn of Goat Yoga.
What started as a whim has been met with enough enthusiasm to qualify as a bonafide craze. In August of last year Lainey Morse of Albany, Oregon made her No Regrets Farm available for a friend's yoga class. Because animals have the social boundaries of, well, animals, the goats joined in and Goat Yoga was born.
How popular has doing yoga with goats become? At last count this month there was a 900-strong waiting list for the class and Morse confesses it's taken over her life. "I had people coming from Seattle and Portland and California and even one from Chicago", she told Oregon media. People came from Portland to try Goat Yoga? That's shocking! *Insert smirk emoji* Of course, there's already Goat Yoga merch. And Morse has even quit her job as a photographer, her main source of income for the past decade, to focus on yoga with capra aegagrus hircus (science speak for goat).
For the goats, who conflictingly are both social and a little mischievous, the yoga mats provide an ideal chew toy and a great place to snuggle with someone doing downward dog. Her barn cat and chickens also like the mats, so it gets cozy. But the numbers are in: people love it. And at ten bucks a class, it's cheaper than any yoga in your neighborhood which we can safely say is completely devoid of cloven hoofed mammals. Pfff, swindlers! Yoga with no goats? What a rip!
Bringing Goat Yoga to the masses, though rewarding, is not without its own challenges. Morse explains that zoning rules have forced her to seek other venues for classes and she's had six liability insurance companies respectfully decline to take on the presumable risk of hooves, horns and a hobby farm. The barn, sadly, is a no go.
But she's fighting the good fight and trying to bring Goat Yoga to Oregon State University campus. (See you on the quad for Goat Yoga, brah!) And there may even be a "Sunset Goat Yoga & Wine Tasting" at Emerson Vineyards come spring. Uh, sunset, yoga, goats and wine? America's Pacific Wonderland, just got a little more wondrous.
Morse is resolute on making Goat Yoga work and has said her "ultimate end goal is to specialize in animal-assisted therapy for people suffering grief or abuse as well as people with special needs or disabilities". Goats to the rescue. I'm all for it. But for now the focus is just more yoga. With more goats.
This may be more than your standard hipster soupe du jour, if you will. Will you? If you're already sold on the calming effects of yoga, but balk at the merit of bringing goats to the mix, know that animals are healing in their own right. Numerous studies have shown that just being near an animal can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and anxiety levels. One study even found that having your own dog at hand lowered blood pressure better than medication. Goats, in particular, have even been known to calm the rambunctious likes of race horses. Plus Morse adds, "it's really hard to be in pain and sad when there's baby goats jumping around you." Noted.
If you're into it, make your way to Oregon, the Beaver State. They may want to change their state animal. Besides, the beaver is already spoken for up here. Off topic, where can I rent, say, 30 beaver and a yoga studio? Asking for a friend.
Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen.