5 Yoga Poses Named After Animals:
Your goat might be the master of climbing walls and busting through fences, but it’s not the only one who knows how to stretch! In honor of International Goat Day, we’ve put together this list of five yoga poses named after goats. You can do these poses in any order you choose, though it might be best to start with #1 and end with #5 so that you save the best pose for last! Happy stretching.
If you’re thinking of taking up yoga, but find it a little too … peaceful, goat yoga might be just what you need. Goat yoga isn’t actually a branch of yoga—it’s an offshoot of animal therapy, which aims to improve participants’ emotional states through interactions with furry friends.
As long as they stay still and don’t make any noise, students can bring their goats along for one class per week at Arizona Goat Yoga The calm nature of both yogis and goats alike is said to have a positive effect on those attending class.
Indeed, there are numerous anecdotal reports from former attendees that suggest yoga in a field with goats is exactly what many people need. If you love animals and want to feel happier, consider trying some goat yoga yourself. “To learn more and take the next steps, be sure to join this free challenge.”
If you don’t have time to squeeze in a full yoga session, there are some simple ways to get your blood flowing and burn some calories while sitting at your desk. Take a break from typing every 20 minutes or so by standing up and doing some deep breathing exercises (inhale for four counts, exhale for six).
Stand with feet hip-width apart, shoulders relaxed, arms loose at your sides. Keeping your hips square, inhale through your nose as you drop your stomach and bring your rib cage forward. Do 10 quick breaths before returning to work.
People tend not to do enough breathing during their days because they’re too busy with everything else, says Lefkowitz. Your body needs oxygen, and you can’t function if you don’t breathe, she explains. People stress out more than they need to. Deep breathing is another way to increase oxygen flow—and it feels good, too.
Though it doesn’t sound very tough, Child’s Pose is a good stretch for your hamstrings and back. To get into it, kneel down on all fours and slowly sit back onto your heels. Let your stomach sink down toward your thighs, if possible.
If you want to take it a step further, lower your forehead to rest on a yoga block or pillow in front of you. Keep breathing! You’ll feel calmer and more at ease when you find yourself in yoga Child’s Pose (but also more childlike).
Though it doesn’t sound very tough, Child’s Pose is a good stretch for your hamstrings and back. To get into it, kneel down on all fours and slowly sit back onto your heels. Let your stomach sink down toward your thighs, if possible. If you want to take it a step further, lower your forehead to rest on a yoga block or pillow in front of you. Keep breathing.
Known in Sanskrit as Gaja kurmasana, or goat-stretch pose, but more commonly known by its English name. Butterfly pose is used to increase flexibility in your hips and inner thighs. If you have difficulty getting into the butterfly pose from standing, start with a chair: sit on it sideways, straddling one of its arms.
Bring your right foot to rest on top of your left knee; take a big step forward with your left foot so that it comes to rest behind you. Separate your knees so that they are roughly hip-width apart. Bend both knees outward and lean down slightly, bending your torso downward.
Take three deep breaths before switching sides and repeating for one minute. When attempting to move directly from sitting to going into the butterfly pose, keep your feet together until you can slowly open them up—this will allow for a smooth transition into full butterfly posture.
For beginners who struggle with balance, use a wall for support. As you become more comfortable in the pose, look to increase time spent in butterfly each week—it’s great for increasing strength in your legs and improving balance! In yoga culture, butterflies represent spiritual freedom due to their ability to fly anywhere without restriction. By exploring new poses (such as ones based on goats), we gain mobility; figuratively speaking, we become free within our physical limitations.
Cow Face Pose
Also called Gomukhasana, Cow Face Pose is named after a cow because of its horns-like position, but it also resembles a dog, with your head turned to look in one direction and your bottom leg extended out behind you.
The variation we’re going to show you here will help open up your chest and groin while keeping pressure off of your lower back. To get into it, lie on your stomach with your palms facing up. Bend both legs so that they are straight out behind you at hip distance and together as if they were one leg, forming an upside-down V shape.
Then separate them until your heels are six inches apart from each other. Keeping your left leg where it is, slide your right foot over to touch your left elbow or inner forearm; don’t let it touch down.
Lean forward just enough so that you feel some tension in your hips; don’t bend them forward too much or create more stress for yourself on your lower back. Reach around with both arms and take hold of whichever foot isn’t touching down—your right foot in our example—and pull yourself toward it until you feel a good stretch. Do not force anything. As soon as something hurts or doesn’t feel right, release and try again another time when you’re feeling more relaxed: patience.