I had never attended a yoga class, but when I had an opportunity to try goat yoga at age 59, I couldn’t resist. I knew nothing about yoga, but growing up on a farm, I was familiar with animals. So I knew this would be a unique experience and it couldn’t help but be fun!
I had the opportunity to participate in goat yoga with Arizona Goat Yoga in Gilbert, Arizona, a town located southeast of Phoenix.
My goat yoga experience was sponsored by Discover Gilbert. All opinions are my own.
I Didn’t Know What To Expect
Goat yoga involves simple yoga moves practiced while surrounded by live goats who also participate with you.
I had no clue how to do yoga, but I thought it sounded fun, and I’m always up for a new adventure and was all in for giving it a try. I was excited about trying it. Something about baby goats running around just puts a smile on your face.
I really was unsure of what to expect or what it would be like. I didn’t know if there would be one or two goats or 100, babies or older goats.
When I Arrived
There were two instructors, Sarah Williams, a certified yoga instructor, and April Gould, the owner of the goats and a yoga practitioner. There were approximately 70 people of all ages and sizes attending the class, along with 40 goats and two alpacas on the grounds. The goats were frolicking everywhere. They were dressed up in tropical attire and t-shirts and were a hoot just to see.
The hour-long session began with a brief introduction about the instructors, the goats, and the two alpacas. They discussed how the goats would perhaps hop on top of you or go under you during the various yoga moves. Quite a few of the goats were babies and about the size of small dogs. There were also momma and papa goats. One of the goats had a white shirt collar and tie on with a blond wig, his name was Trump!
A Fun Learning Experience
Sarah and April explained that the goats were mostly friendly and they would just do their thing while we did yoga. They also advised us not to get all stressed out if the goats went to the bathroom near or even on our mats. They informed us that the tiny poo pellets would easily shake off. Whoa -- I hadn’t thought about dealing with that!
Then the instructor began to teach us about yoga and had us do a few simple stretches while we were standing up. The goats just wandered around the area. When the instructor had us do the downward dog yoga pose, we got to see the goats in action as they ran under us. That is when the laughs began.
As the yoga class continued, we were asked to do different poses and stretches, and the instructors gave us more information about the goats, how they are cared for, their habits, what they eat, where they live, and how goat yoga got started.
The First Goat Yoga
Arizona Goat Yoga was the first goat yoga program in the nation. In 2015, when April was raising goats, she started to incorporate them into her workout routine while training for the NBC American Ninja Warrior competition. At the same time, Sarah was teaching paddle-board yoga and wanted a warmer alternative during the winter. They combined their passions and goat yoga was born. Arizona Goat Yoga is currently rated the number one goat yoga experience in the Western United States and is among the top 10 things to do in Arizona!
April and Sarah work to make Arizona Goat Yoga interactive, entertaining, and affordable. I can attest to the fact that there are plenty of belly laughs while participating.
I Was Slammed!
When I asked about how long the goats can participate, April told me, “The goats have no retirement age. When they are too big to jump, they are taught to go under or around. Although when very excited, they might still jump on you.”
This exact thing happened to me! We were asked to hold a plank position. I have trouble doing that to start with, but was working so hard to do it when the biggest goat in the lot jumped on top of me and flattened me to the ground! I do not have a picture or video of it. Probably a good thing because it wasn’t pretty! It actually knocked the wind out of me.
The next pose was easier since we were able to be up on our knees. The goats were all over us. They would jump on top of one person and then go under the next and then a couple would jump on one person. You could probably hear the laughter for miles.
Next, we tried yoga poses that involved two people. Goats love to climb, and they always want to be at the highest point. At this point, there were two-person pairs with goats on top of them.
The Goats Are Family Pets
At Arizona Goat Yoga, the goats are pets, and just like a puppy, they crave human attention. When not participating in goat yoga, they are being spoiled with love and affection. They are taught new tricks and played with.
All the classes are held outside in a beautiful grassy field, so you get to enjoy the outdoors as well as the goats and alpaca. The actual class is an hour long, but many stay up to an hour longer to take pictures and mingle with the goats and alpaca.
Why Try Goat Yoga?
Goat yoga has been proven to be therapeutic, even for older participants. It reduces stress and anxiety. Interacting with animals reduces cortisol while simultaneously increasing serotonin and dopamine, which lift your spirit and reduce feelings of sadness and grief. Combined with the laughter induced by goat yoga, you will release tension.
The animals jumping on you won’t hurt (unless they slam you to the ground). Their hooves are hard, but feel sort of like a massage on your back. They don’t stay on you for long, either, as they hop on and off at their leisure.
It Was A Fun and Unique Experience
I had a lot of fun with the goats, and I actually learned a little bit about yoga, too! When I left, my smile muscles were hurting from all the laughing. It was a totally unique experience and I highly recommend it to anyone who can get up and down from the ground and doesn’t mind having an animal crawl on them. Just be prepared to laugh a lot.
Traveler’s Pro Tips:
- Classes fill fast. Be sure to get your ticket online to guarantee your spot.
- Children are welcome to come to Arizona Goat Yoga classes, but still need tickets regardless of their age. Be aware that some of the goats are large and do not discriminate who they jump on. Also, policy may differ from company to company.
- Wear comfortable clothing for easy movement. Remember goats may jump on your back with grassy hooves.
- Be sure to wear shoes that you’re not too worried about. You never know what you might step in!
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