I have been hearing more about this trend, and recently USA Today wrote about it here:
A local farm in Pendleton, SC, has now gotten into the goat yoga game, and I’m sure our lowcountry farms will soon follow. Recently, yoga has exploded in all sorts of places–the beach (I love beach yoga!), parks, in microbreweries, in boutique stores, and now, in goat pastures.
Don’t get me wrong. I love goats. I love animals. I understand the instructor’s claim that having goats walking in and out of the asana (movement) practice can help bring focus. But I wonder why we are seeing this trend. Are we working to make yoga available to all people, or is this a novelty built into a market flooded with traditional studios and gyms? Is it about access, or marketing?
I know some amazing yoga teachers working in these non-traditional settings. And if someone thinks “hey, that yoga studio seems awfully serious and has lots of bendy people but goats don’t judge” and decides to give it a shot, cool. But yoga is about uniting the spirit with the universal–the bigger than ourselves–God, the cosmic one-ness, Brahman, whatever links us all together. We can access that through prayer and meditation, through karma yoga (selfless positive acts), and through asana practice wherever that may be, in a studio, gym, or goat pasture. We don’t need to go anywhere to experience yoga. So it might be fun to try new venues, but it’s not necessary.
As for me, I will give goat yoga a try someday. I am intrigued by yoga in non-studio settings, and I will attend classes as soon as I am home from teaching in upstate South Carolina for the semester. But I will have to work to maintain positive energy if a goat pees on my yoga mat!