While animals and yoga may not seem like an obvious pairing, the popularity of online videos featuring yogis with their furry friends tells a different story.
From cats to canines, anyone who has tried yoga at home knows that animals love to wiggle their way onto the yoga mat, sometimes to the distress of those caught in a tricky pose.
Picking up on this trend is one of the newest animal and yoga pairings: goat yoga.
These playful barnyard buddies make excellent yoga companions and lend a lighthearted feel to a yoga session, according to Alyssa Boyle and Justin Ellis, who have begun offering their own goat yoga classes at their Gig Harbor home.
It’s a way more playful practice. It was cool to see people not take themselves so seriously. It’s more social.
“It’s a way more playful practice,” Boyle, 26, said. “It was cool to see people not take themselves so seriously. It’s more social.”
The couple have five Nigerian dwarf goats — including two “kids,” or baby goats — which are a miniature breed primarily used for dairy. Boyle and Ellis first got the goats almost three years ago for the dairy and the inclusion of the animals in yoga became a natural next step.
“People just kept putting the two together for us,” Boyle said.
“We’re pretty well positioned for goat yoga because of our background,” Ellis, also 26, said. “I really love this breed of goats because they’re so manageable.”
Prior to moving to Gig Harbor more than two years ago, Boyle and Ellis learned about goats through their experience at GeerCrest Farm, a historical educational teaching farm in Salem, Oregon.
One thing I noticed is (goat yoga) is a lesson on boundaries. People had to decide how close to let the goats and how far to let the interaction go.
After moving to Gig Harbor and getting their goats, the couple hosted its first goat yoga class with friends in 2015, before the idea of goat yoga hit the internet and gained popularity.
Now offering goat yoga classes at 4 p.m. every Saturday through July and August, Boyle and Ellis are excited to share their love of yoga and goats with the Gig Harbor community.
“They’re both therapy in their own right,” Ellis said. “Yoga is therapy and animals are therapy.”
The goats — named Tootsie, Revolution, Leia, Sam and Frodo (the two kids) — are calm and friendly, each with their own distinct personality.
“One thing I noticed is (goat yoga) is a lesson on boundaries,” Boyle said. “People had to decide how close to let the goats and how far to let the interaction go.”
Yoga’s for everyone. It was a pleasure to take the seriousness out of it and give people a healing experience.
The goats spent the hour-long yoga session visiting and looking for cuddles from participants and occasionally trying to get a nibble from an interesting article of clothing.
“They walked around and visited,” Boyle said of the goats. “It was great to see people leaving all calm and relaxed, chipper and cheerful.”
Yoga classes are open to all ages and abilities and participants are encouraged to wear clothing that they wouldn’t mind being goat nibbled.
“Yoga’s for everyone,” Ellis said. “It was a pleasure to take the seriousness out of it and give people a healing experience.”
Interested in goat yoga?
Classes are $30 per person. Email Boyle and Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org with class date and number of people.
For more information, visit nurture2nourish.com.