Goat Yoga and its Health Benefits
Fun Activities with Goat Yoga and its Health Benefits
When we think about yoga, we picture serene and stoic yogis focused on achieving mental and emotional balance. This makes it tough to understand how skittish goats can find their way into the world of yoga, and yet they have! As the name suggests, goat yoga is yoga that is practised in the presence of goats and often, in tandem with them. There are several fun activities that you can do during your goat yoga session and they offer several health benefits.
Fun Activities with Goat Yoga
Goat yoga not only aims to improve your physical and mental health but also offers a way to connect with the world around you. Here are a few fun activities that you can expect from your goat yoga session.
- A relaxed yoga session
Yoga is meant to be relaxing but struggling with different poses can be a bit stressful, especially for beginners. During goat yoga, your instructor will lead your group through a series of yoga poses while goats frolic around or even perch on your back. This relaxed atmosphere helps you connect with nature and feel at ease. You don’t have to worry about other members noticing your lack of flexibility as all eyes will be on the goats.
- Cuddle time with a goat
Typical yoga sessions are highly structured but goat yoga has more of a go-with-the-flow attitude. When a goat wanders up to you, you can simply stop what you’re doing and cuddle the little guy for as long as you like before continuing with the session. Unlike goats raised on a pasture, these goats enjoy fussing and petting, so don’t be surprised if it falls asleep in your arms. Classes generally last an hour but you can always hang back for some extra cuddle time.
- Kids and Kids
It’s no coincidence that we call our children kids – the same word we use for a baby goat. Children and baby goats have a lot in common from their innocent and curious natures to their fondness for frolicking and fun! Goat yoga sessions are open to adults and children so you can make it a family activity. This is also a great way to help your children develop a love of animals, nature and yoga.
Health Benefits of Goat Yoga
Yoga has gained recognition for its efficacy in treating a wide range of health issues from diabetes and heart disease to back pain and asthma. According to the experts at What To Expect, yoga can even offer benefits for women trying to conceive. Goat yoga sessions include yoga poses so these sessions offer the same benefits as regular yoga, plus a few more.
- Reduces stress and anxiety
It’s impossible to not smile as you watch the goats prancing around your feet and their joy is infectious! Studies show that playing with an animal for as little as 5 minutes reduces stress levels. This is because interacting with animals reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) while simultaneously increasing serotonin and dopamine (hormones that trigger happiness). Goat yoga will help you release the tension you’ve been holding on to and simply reconnect with everyone around you. Although goat yoga is not a cure for illness, it can help you cope with the stress of dealing with a health issue.
- Reduces blood pressure and heart rate
According to the CDC, approximately 1 in every 3 American adults suffer from high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of several health problems including heart disease which is the leading cause of death in our country. Researchers found that just the presence of friendly animals, even if they are unfamiliar, can help to reduce an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure. They also found that stroking the animal resulted in a significant reduction in heart rate. Goat yoga does not follow a rigid structure which means that when a particularly adventurous goat nuzzles up to you, you can simply stop what you’re doing to play with him.
- Improves your workout
One of the reasons goat yoga came about was to increase the intensity of workouts. Doing a downward dog with a goat balancing on your back is no easy task as goats typically weigh 5-15 pounds depending on the breed and the age of the goat. The added weight of the goat means that you have to exert more effort to perform any exercise. This helps to improve your overall strength as well as your cardio capacity and your muscular endurance. If you haven’t worked out for a while, you can allow the smaller and lighter goats to jump onto your back instead of the bigger ones. Goats make ideal training partners as they are nimble and surefooted and enjoy jumping up onto a person’s back when they are exercising.
There are several misconceptions about goats – the most common ones are that they are stinky and aggressive. This could not be further from the truth. Pet goats are similar to dogs as they are energetic, friendly and playful in nature. Goats are also very intelligent and social which is why baby goats are happy to lie peacefully in your arms while you pet them. Goat yoga may not be the most strenuous workout routine but it provides tremendous physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Critics and sceptics say that goat yoga is nothing more than a passing fad but this is contradicted by the waitlist of approximately 1000 people. There’s plenty to love about goat yoga – from the fresh air and green grass to meeting new people and of course – the adorable baby goats prancing around in tutus.