Recently, I tried something I never thought I would try: Baby Goat Yoga! Prior to this experience, as someone truly passionate about the practice of yoga, I thought goat yoga sounded a bit silly and that maybe, it even watered down the true meaning of yoga. I had also read opinions on yoga involving animals, written by other passionate yogis, who have called the “practice” of including animals in a yoga session, “unethical” (Downward Dog, but without the Dogs, Denise Moore, Toronto Star – November 18/19), because it ‘dilutes the true teachings of yoga’.
Then one day in October, while out on a wine tour, my oldest daughter texted me about a winery that was offering goat yoga sessions that—in spite of everything—piqued my curiosity. I figured that I ought to, at least, give it a shot before forming my ultimate opinion. Now, I have to admit, I’m glad I kept an open mind. Yoga is a beautiful practice. When undertaken with regularity, passion, and knowledge, yoga can be transformative and healing – mentally, spiritually, and physically. I truly believe that. I have had first-hand experience with the healing benefits yoga has to offer. And yet goat yoga is something so different—yes, that includes it being a little silly—but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.
Was it fun, and truly engaging for me, to hold “Table” pose with a goat on my back? Yes, it was. Were the other people taking part in the session focused on their breath and on the technical aspects of each pose? No, it certainly didn’t seem so. Many had probably never held a yoga pose before in their life and, to be frank, while some may never take part in yoga again, they might otherwise have never been exposed without the novelty of involving those lovable, furry creatures.
For those like me, that have practiced yoga, it turned out to be a fun and enriching way to spend our afternoon. With my best friend beside me, we spent the better part of an hour rejuvenating our souls as we laughed, snapped some photos, and held a few yoga poses, all with a bunch of baby goats!
These miniature goats from Africa, wander in and out between people, and often hop right up on your back for a better view of the territory. When the group is loud and excited the goats are active. When we calmed ourselves by closing our eyes and focusing on our breath (which we all did – momentarily), the baby goats quieted and calmed down along with the group.
The session I participated in was run by Fox Den Yoga. Their philosophy is that their inclusive classes allow participants of all skills levels to feel welcome and leave the goat yoga session feeling lighter, happier, more connected to nature and each other. (https://www.foxdengoatyoga.com/site/about-goat-yoga-niagara). From my experience, that’s exactly what happened!
Baby Goat Yoga may not be for everyone, but in the yogic spirit of accepting that life is ‘change’ and that to live life fully we need to live in the moment, perhaps we should all be more willing to try new things, be it goat yoga or something else. Ultimately we should look to do things that bring us joy and happiness.