Goat Yoga, what’s the point?
4 years ago we would have never imagined “Goat Yoga” being as big as it is now. What started out as a fun quirky idea has spread across the nation like wildflowers! -Yes I said wildflowers. Still we get asked the same exact question, “What’s the point of Goat Yoga?” Not that there needs to be a point of everything we do, but there actually is a point to it. Goat Yoga brings the combination of every element of happiness. Exercise, Friends, animals, entertainment, nature, fresh air, since of community, teamwork, laughter, feeling needed, working together, pet therapy… I can go on and on.
Lets dig deeper into a few of these shall we?
Nature: We are spending more and more time indoors behind a computer screen, in front of a TV, slumped over a cellphone or surrounded by fluorescent lights at work. More and more kids are especially becoming distant from real life interactions. Arizona is full of outdoor nature activities! There are beautiful mountain ranges and hiking all around us. At goat yoga Arizona, we are surrounded by the superstition mountains, fresh air, horses, cuddling cows, yoga goats, and alpaca selfies. We even have a giraffe and zebras next door! Simply walking barefoot in the fresh green grass and having direct contact with the earth produces nearly instant changes in physiological measures. It can improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension and lower stress. Researchers have found a link between a lack of vitamin D (obtained through sun exposure) and depression. Vitamin D is practically what Phoenix is known for! I can’t think of a better place to get your Vitamin D, than right here in Sunny Arizona! Good weather 10 months out of the year is why tourists are flock to PHX.
That brings me to my next point. Stress. Stress is everywhere. You can’t really get away from it. Whether it be physical, emotional, traumatic, acute or chronic, we have all felt it in some way or another. Stress is horrible for the human body, many times causing people to feel sick with other ailments… even causing more stress. So what can we do about it? Many people are moving toward animal therapy. There is a special animal to human bond that only a loving pet or sweet goat can provide. Playing or petting an animal can increase levels of oxytocin, which is a stress-reducing hormone. These hormonal changes can help reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure. Goats have a lower heart rate that is calming to anyone… Goats don’t judge, goats just love. You always feel happier around a goat, alpaca, horse, hedgehog or cuddly cow. Here at Arizona Goat Yoga, we have ALL of those! Ones stop stress-free shop.
Laughter is the best medicine. So it’s no surprise that there is laughter therapy. Did you know that there is actually such a thing? Laughter therapy are sessions where you “make yourself laugh”, either on your own or in a group, until it is so silly, you actually end up laughing for real. Laughter releases that rush of endorphins and is an excellent way to reduce stress and teach you to cope with stressful situations. Laughing also strengthens your immune system, boost mood, and reduces pain. Think of Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Wiliams, going to hospitals to make kids laugh. Why do they have clowns go from room to room in cancer clinics. It’s because of Laughter therapy. Laughter is contagious. It is hard to sit and listen to someone laugh next to you, without feeling the sudden urge to smile. THIS IS GOAT YOGA! At Arizona Goat Yoga we have 150 people in a big circle all laughing, smiling, and having fun. It’s one big circle of community positive energy and love. Laughter also strengthens your abdominal muscles (just as an added benefit). Many people say it is the best day of their life.
Physical benefits of Goat Yoga. Contrary to what some may believe, we ACTUALLY really do yoga. We make it fun, so you don’t realize you are working out, until the next day when your quads are sore from holding a wall sit for 3 minutes while the goat is running across your back. Push-ups, downward dogs, and planks are much harder to do when you have a goat on your back. The whole idea of goat yoga started in Arizona is while April Gould was training for American Ninja Warrior- the popular TV show of athletes running physical challenging obstacle courses WITH her goats! She would put them on her back and do pushups or squats for added weight and fun exercise. We also do several types of yoga to improve flexibility, increase muscle strength and tone, improve energy , maintain balance, weight reduction, cardio health and overall athletic performance. Besides the traditional Bikram, Hatha,l Vinyuasa, Yin, Kundalini, Iyengar yoga, even Hot Yoga during the summer. We also implement Mandela and Acro or partner yoga. It really is about bringing the community together. That is our goal.
If you are still not convinced in the benefits of Goat Yoga, don’t take my word for it. Here is part of an actual anonymous letter posted recently.
“Doing Goat Yoga on Saturday meant more to me than you know. About 10 weeks ago, I took a bad fall off my bicycle (with a helmet). I landed in the hospital with some brain bleeding and a skull fracture. I couldnt teach for 3 weeks and still haven’t been the same. Especially emotionally- jIve been so depressed. But on Saturday, I felt like my old self. It was incredible- I couldn’t stop laughing, smioling, and I nearly cried from feeling a glimpse of what I was like before my accident. Thank you ladies for what you do and all the work and training these Goat babies. It meant more to me than words can describe.”
So as you can see, happiness is contagious. That is why Goat Yoga has literally spread like wildflowers.
Written by April Gould
Arizona Goat Yoga, LLC