What It Is: Goat yoga is exactly what it sounds like: You practice yoga in an open space (barn or field) while goats roam around you.
What You Might Not Know: Naturally, they aren’t toilet trained, so they could pee or poo on or near your yoga mat.
Feelin’ the Love: Normally I’d have my doubts about attending something like goat yoga—the first time I heard about it, I wondered how this could actually be a thing—but I was intrigued when I received a recent media invite to participate in the world’s largest goat yoga class.
always usually up for new fitness experiences to blog about, I decided to give goat yoga a test-drive and took my daughter with me. I was further incentivized by free post-yoga wine, as promised on the media invite. My husband agreed to be my designated driver.
What to Expect From Goat Yoga
As it happens, I’m really glad we went! My daughter and I both love animals, so it’s no surprise we probably spent more time communing with goats than doing yoga poses. How can you not when a goat settles into your lap for a cuddle? (See video at end of post.)
The instructor led us all through an accessible and well-rounded yoga practice, so when the goats were off at the other end of the barnyard, my daughter and I managed to squeeze in a few Downward Dogs and Warriors.
Periodically, a herd of goats—there were 45 in total, some tiny and some larger than me—would barrel through (or across) the maze of yoga mats. Sometimes the goats would run away as quickly as they arrived; sometimes they’d stop to graze; and sometimes they’d stomp all over our mats (good thing my Merrithew™ Eco Yoga Mat is machine washable👇).
Wellness with Animals
IMO, practicing yoga and petting animals is a wonderful wellness combo. And I can see how once the novelty of being surrounded by goats wears off, it would be easier to concentrate on the yoga.
In fact, doing yoga while friendly goats gaze at you, piddle on your belongings or nose in to cuddle is a brilliant way to practice and hone presence and focus despite distraction. I heard beforehand that smaller goats like to jump on people’s backs during certain poses in goat yoga, but I didn’t see it happen.
The goat yoga class I attended took place outdoors at Maan Farms Market and Estate Winery in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The farm offers family activities and deeeelicious lunch options (if you go, be sure to also take home a fruit pie—we went with strawberry rhubarb). I also enjoyed the low-in-sulphites wine, made from farm-grown field berries. Maan Farms hosts regularly scheduled goat yoga classes, according to their website. I might go again!
If I Could Change One Thing: My own preparedness. If you ever try it, bring yoga mat spray and a towel or a travel pack of wet wipes to clean the mat during and right after class before you roll it up. One goat peed on my daughter’s mat and tracked mud all over mine; all I had was a tissue in my pocket.
Should You Try It? Yes, it’s a blast! We laughed so much. But I suspect you really need to love animals to embrace the experience.
Depending on where you live, finding a class might be easier than you think. There are goat yoga classes all over the place—see for yourself on Google. Of course wherever you go should have an excellent track record when it comes to animal safety and care.