Goat yoga—no doubt you’ve seen photos of people doing plank pose with happy baby goats on their backs as you’ve scrolled through your Instagram feed, but it’s hard to imagine the reality of this fitness craze. Do the goats bounce off the backs of yogis? Are they trained to join you in Downward Dog? Do the goats poop on your yoga mat? (C’mon, I know you’ve wondered.) As a novelty workout enthusiast, I had to learn more about goat yoga. Those baby goat yoga pictures were just too cute (and delightfully ridiculous). So when the staff at the new DoubleTree hotel in Vail, Colorado, recommended I try the local goat yoga class during a recent visit (they had a free shuttle to take me there, after all), I signed up without a moment of hesitation—and with a ton of anticipation.
Goat Yoga: Too Cute or Carried Away?
The four-legged yogis were relaxing in their pen when I rolled up to Vail Stables on a sunny day in the mountains. Snuggled up in groups of five or six, they looked at ease, having just finished up another baby goat yoga class a half hour earlier. Of course, it was just about time for the goats to hit the mat again—this time with me. Six other students and I spread out our mats and waited as the yoga instructor opened the gates. With a bit of encouragement from the teacher, more than a dozen goats ran into the outdoor yoga studio and started coming right up to us. They sniffed our water bottles, chewed our hair, and even nestled their heads in our laps as we gushed, snapping pics of every adorable moment. The goats began to settle down, mostly in big piles around one or two students, just as the “workout” kicked off. As with a typical class, goat yoga started with lots of steady breathing (yes, it did smell a bit like a farm—though not necessarily worse than the foot smell at some studios) and gentle stretching. After some light breathwork, I was seriously ready to get my yoga on with these goats.To be frank, the workout didn’t get much harder than that. Sure, we did a bit of planking and the occasional Downward Dog (with a gentle pet of a goat as you entered the pose). But I quickly realized that goat yoga’s really about one thing—the animals—and the teacher encouraged us to embrace every minute of that. During my goat yoga class, it was clearly 100 percent fine to spend the entire session cuddling up next to the goats just enjoying their presence if that’s what a yogi wanted to do. And it was pure bliss. About halfway through the class, it hit me: Goat yoga’s not about poses and moving your body—it’s a valid reason for grown-ups to go to a petting zoo. Why do we need an excuse to hang out with goats? Simply petting animals has been proven to elevate our moods, lower anxiety, boost relaxation, reduce loneliness, and provide a happy distraction from the stresses of everyday life. If goat yoga’s the best way for the average person to get some animal therapy, so be it. Toward the end of the goat yoga class, most of us gave up the facade of being serious on our mats. Pretending to practice yoga for the camera with the docile goats in our arms or on our backs was simply more fun. And we were all okay with that. Would I try goat yoga again? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t actively seek it out. Usually offered for between $30 and $50 per class, goat yoga is too expensive for repeat visits in my opinion—but priced acceptably for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plus, I rely on yoga to work up a sweat, and I’d rather not always do so while goats are doing their usual goat things (running, chewing, licking, and yes…sometimes pooping) around me. With that being said, if you want to play with a bunch of adorable animals and laugh until your belly hurts, it’s definitely worth trying goat yoga at least once. You’re guaranteed to leave class with a smile, and with memories that last forever. And you can even pretend you actually exercised—we won’t tell.
Want to try goat yoga for yourself?
Those baby goat yoga pictures keep popping up in your social media feed, and you can’t take it anymore: You need this experience. Where can you try goat yoga? Well, if you happen to be in Vail during the warmer months, you can’t go wrong with a class at Vail Stables. The helpful instructor was totally in tune with creating a fun-filled goat yoga experience, and I highly recommend checking it out. If you aren’t near Vail, there are also goat yoga classes all around the country. Depending on your locale, here are a few places that might be right for you:
This is where it all began. Give the original goat yoga class a try in Oregon—if you can score a spot at their frequently sold-out events.
This boutique, just south of Indianapolis, hosts goat yoga every Saturday from April to October. On certain Saturdays, the owner brings in other animals including rabbits, chickens, and a pot-belly pig for farm animal yoga classes.
Located in Highland, Maryland, Yoga Love kicks off its 75-minute goat yoga classes with hayrides in the pasture of a local farm.
A herd of precious Nigerian Dwarf goats will join you for some vinyasa at this goat yoga class just outside Cedar Rapids.
In case the goats weren’t enough of a guarantee for giggles, Arizona Goat Yoga has hired a yoga instructor who moonlights as an amateur improv comedian to lead its classes. Get ready for lots of awws…and chuckles.