Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Yes you did read that title correctly. Goats + Yoga = Goat Yoga. Goat Yoga first appeared back in 2016 and has since grow in popularity with classes popping up all over the US.
Goat yoga was first started by Lainey Morse in Portland Oregon. After a rough patch in her life, she went on to change things around by combining her love of Yoga and Goats.
After having friends around, one of which was a yoga instructor, one sentence set the ball in motion. She tells CNBC:
"We're standing out in my field, and it's just beautiful with the mountain views, and the goats all standing around us,". The friend told her they should have a yoga class there.
Morse replied, "'Okay, but the goats are going to be all over the humans." The friend's reaction? "Cool."
The idea was a big success and other yoga studios around the US started to jump on the trend. It’s even in the UK with farms in Southampton and Suffolk offering Goga.
The NY times report that a goat gave birth in one yoga class!
Ethical issues – explored below, are something to seriously consider.
Is it ethical?
Any event or activity where animals are involved needs to handled properly. The welfare of the animals needs to be number one priority. In Washington D.C. the Department of Health (DOH) had to cancel two sold-out goat yoga classes. The event would violate a ban on spectators touching animals at public events.
PLEASE do your research to ensure that you are supporting only ethical, non-harming organizations, practices, and activities that promote positive animal welfare initiatives.
If you're thinking of going to a goat yoga class the animals should not be exploited. There should be a natural human-animal interaction, nothing should be forced. Don’t allow animal-act promoters to pass off exploitation as entertainment.
Could Goat Yoga be the latest social trend where no one wants to understand what goes on behind the scenes. People wanting a cute selfie or experience to share on social media without knowing the true cost? We’ve had examples of this in the past. Elephant riding in Thailand, Donkeys in Santorini, and of course Sea World. All are coming under fire in the media today. Finally.
Goat yoga looks like it’s going to be around for a while. Yet here in the UK, we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. When it comes to UK farmers taking care of their animals, we are one of the best, as the Animal Protection Index shows. Because of this it may not become as big of a thing as it currently is in America.
My personal take
As many of you know – I love cats. They’re like my babies. Nymeria was adopted from a local charity Usk New Start Cat Rescue.
Since I saw goat yoga explode on social media, as well as Doga (Dog Yoga) and Yoga with Kittens – Koga?!, I’ve wanted to hold a yoga class in conjunction with the charity to raise their profile, raise awareness and of course raise some money for the wonderful work they do.
My current thinking is to have a class with kittens in the centre in a safe, secure pen and participants in a circle around them. This way everyone gets to see the cute kittens while they practice but the kitties are safe and happy playing by themselves.
Of course we could also have some time after where everyone got a chance to cuddle a cat!
So watch this space – Cat Yoga could be coming to Firefly Yoga this autumn!