If someone were to tell you they were going to attend a goat yoga class, you would probably have a few different reactions. First, you might look at that person with the same expression you would as if they had just told you they had bought a reasonably priced condominium on Jupiter’s sixth moon of Europa. Second, you may begin to get curious about what goat yoga would actually entail.
Your imagination drifts off to a studio full of bearded billy goats atop yoga mats doing downward facing dogs and striking warrior poses. Well, imagine no more, because it’s much simpler than that.
Goat Yoga is a brand new way to do yoga, new form of animal therapy, and innovative business owned by Lainey Morse of Albany, Oregon. Essentially, it is a guided yoga class that also happens to feature about a dozen goats that walk around and interact with the participants.
A goat might come up to you to be petted, climb on top of you, or it may just let you use it as a pillow. It provides an escape for people from all walks of life — whether they face depression, anxiety, are recovering from an illness, or if they simply want to try out a unique and fun experience.
“The pairing of goats and yoga might sound silly at first and most people generally like to question things they aren’t familiar with, but goat yoga is just another form of Animal Assisted Therapy. You get to enjoy nature, interact with adorable goats, and get exercise. In that sense, it’s really no different from walking your dog or going horseback riding,” said Morse.
Heather Davis, a yoga instructor of seven years, came to Morse with the idea about a year ago after visiting Morse’s farm. Davis thought it would be a cool idea to combine yoga with being around Morse’s goats. Morse loved the idea and the two partnered up to create Goat Yoga and they haven’t looked back.
Goat Yoga has been featured in what seems like every major news publication in the United States, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, CNN, and even ESPN. People near and far have taken notice and are lining up to participate in the unorthodox form of exercise. Some even travel from as far as Germany to give it a try. Because of the widespread coverage it has received, Goat Yoga boasts about a 2500-person waitlist.
Don’t give up hope if the waitlist number scares you. Morse recently added two more class types of Goat Yoga. The Goat Yoga and Wine-Tasting classes, held on Saturdays and Sundays with a $50 ticket price and the Student Goat Yoga classes, held on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays with a $20 ticket price. The latter of which is targeted at any college students with a student ID interested in giving goat yoga a try. Classes are held at the Hanson Country Inn in Corvallis.
“I loved the goats’ interactions, switching to a different pose and having a goat right in the way to greet you was really fun,” said John Friedman.
Friedman, a Wisconsin native who was looking for something to do in the Portland area while he was visiting, found out about Goat Yoga through The New York Times and instantly knew he had to try it. His timing turned out to be perfect; with Student Goat Yoga launching earlier in March he was able to get into a class with relative ease and he had a blast hanging out with the goats.
“Goats and yoga just go together, the sense of calm about them just makes them a perfect pairing with yoga,” said Morse.
It’s hard to argue with that sentiment considering businesses offering goat yoga continue to pop up all over the country on a weekly basis.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which means that many people also think goats and yoga is a great idea,” said Davis.
It’s not every day that someone can capture lightning in a bottle, but Morse and Davis seem to have done it and done it well. Morse was even able to trademark the Goat Yoga brand and she is currently looking for new ways to expand her business. She has contacted and been contacted by several businesses around the United States looking to bring goat yoga to their areas. Morse is looking forward to opening new Goat Yoga studios in Washington, Ohio, Kansas, and Georgia with possibly more on the way.
“Who could’ve predicted this? There’s just no way anyone could have,” said Morse.
Morse and Davis reflected on their life-changing idea, how far they have come in such a short amount of time and if they had any inkling that an idea like doing yoga with goats would take off the way that it did.
“I had no idea, I just keep wondering who all these people are,” said Davis.
Whether they intended for Goat Yoga to turn into a life-altering business idea, one thing is for sure, Goat Yoga is here to stay and it may just be the best combination since peanut butter and jelly.
For more information on Goat Yoga including class times and contact info, visit their website at www.goatyoga.net
Story by Joshua Stickrod
Photos by Elliot Pond