Cat yoga. Goat yoga. Horse yoga. We spoke to experts to learn how your favorite furry friends can enhance your yoga practice.
Three words: yoga with goats. In case you missed it, No Regrets Farm in Oregon won the internet last week with news of their yoga class with goats—real, live, adorable goats. And it's not the first time doing yoga with animals has been the thing to try.
Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen is also well-known for doing yoga with her pet goat. One yoga studio in Illinois attracted attention over a yoga class with adoptable cats roaming the room as people very literally went with the flow. An animal shelter in Denver started YogaAdoptables with the same concept in mind for rescue cats and dogs. The Ohio Township facility hosts yoga with bunnies once a month and several aquariums and state zoos offer yoga classes with scenic views. You can also practice yoga with horses in a small handful of states (and by with horses, we mean on horses). (Psst...Here's why everyone should try cat yoga at least once.)
But besides the fact that doing yoga with animals makes for an epic Instagram post, why exactly is everyone doing it? As it turns out, practicing your vinyasas in the presence of goats and other fuzzy creatures has legitimate benefits.
"It doesn't surprise me that the innocence of animals is something that people want to connect with," says Guru Jagat, a Kundalini Yoga Master and founder of RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology. Having practiced and taught yoga in places like the Himalayas, she has first-hand experience doing yoga with animals, goats included.
"Everything's just gotten so complicated and denatured that we covet anything that reminds us of simplicity and innocence," she says. Basically, we're all craving a connection to something deeper than our smartphones and that's where animals come in.
Lainey Morse, the owner of No Regrets Farm, recalls how her goats helped her cope with her divorce and an autoimmune disease that put her day job as a photographer on hold. "I started to realize how beneficial they were not only for my health but for my mind," Morse says. After all, as she points out, it's pretty hard to be depressed with baby goats jumping around you. So she started Goat Happy Hour, allowing people to come mingle with her goats. Later, yoga instructor Heather Davis asked if she could teach classes on her property and the rest was history.
The true meaning of yoga often gets overpowered by who's wearing the latest Lululemon or how advanced you are compared to the person next to you, so it's easy to see why it caught on like wildfire. Doing yoga with animals is a back-to-basics move that helps you find something deeper. And, according to Guru Jagat, nature is one the deepest experiences we can have. Consider the cute factor a bonus.