Animal-loving yogis rejoice, goat yoga has finally landed in southern Virginia. The owners of Autumn Ridge Cottages in Lexington, have begun offering this uniquely enjoyable experience to the community.
What is Goat Yoga?
Goat yoga is essentially yoga…with goats. I guess that wasn’t too hard to explain. But what is the point, you ask?
As a practicing yogi, I can attest to the many benefits of practicing yoga. The controlled breathing helps me to mitigate stress and to refocus. Meditation helps me to connect not only with myself but to others and the world around me. Focusing on the physical alignment of my poses improves my posture, and those repetitive chatarungas give me killer triceps.
As an animal lover, I can attest to the many benefits of interacting with animals. They provide a sense of comfort and companionship. Interaction with animals is also said to release serotonin and dopamine. Don’t believe me? Just check out the research that is backing up the use of animal-assisted therapy. Besides, what is cuter than rubbing a little puppy’s belly?
Combine morning yoga with pygmy goats and shazam, you have a dopamine releasing, stress relieving, “aww” inducing start to your day.
Downward dog and nuzzling goat
As we pulled up to the Autumn Ridge barn, we immediately saw the mini herd of goats running toward us and our big yellow Sprinter. But like obedient “kids” knowing better than to cross the street (did you get that pun? Scott isn’t the only one with jokes), they stopped before they reached us. We ran up to the group of 6 pygmy goats who were waiting patiently next to Mike, one of the owners of Autumn Ridge. We cuddled and cooed the little fur balls as Mike introduced us to Thor, Banner, Romeo, and their other 3 fuzzy friends.
As the other yogis began to arrive, we made our way into the barn which now served as the yoga studio. I have never taken a goat yoga class before, so not knowing what to expect, I had been preparing myself to practice yoga in a cold barn surrounded by itchy hay. Stepping into the studio, I saw that the barn was newly renovated, welcoming and very clean. A charming wood-burning stove warmed the room while the scent of lavender oil permeated the air.
When we were all settled onto our mats, the owners opened the door for all of the goats to wander in. The instructor started us off with a gentle child’s pose. Thor joined me, taking a snooze at the front of my mat.
As we progressed into our first sun salutation, I looked over to see Romeo nibbling on Scott’s pant leg. Off in the corner, Banner was making a little bed out of Scott’s sweater lying on the floor. The room was filled with giggles, as the goats took their turns nuzzling everyone in the room.
The class ended with a supine shavasana as we relaxed to the pitter-patter of wandering goat hooves.
Related content: “Virginia Safari Park: A Wild Adventure in the Heart of Virginia”
Yoga Lessons from a Goat
Yoga is about mindfulness. One way of practicing mindfulness is by becoming open to new experiences. How often do you get the chance to practice yoga with 5 Miniature Alpines and 1 Nigerian Pygmy goat running around? It is a fun opportunity to try something out of the ordinary. The adventure of trying something new awakens our senses to pure and simple joy.
Yoga is about letting go and not taking life so seriously. Yes, Thor the goat may nibble on your hair or poop on your mat, but that’s nothing a little antibacterial can’t fix. (And let’s be real, there are MUCH worse things that can be pooping on your mat.) See the humor in life and let it shine a positive light on your day.
Yoga is about connectedness. If you have ever been in a yoga class where the instructor leads the room in a simultaneous “Om”, one of the reasons is connectedness. Chanting at the same vibrational frequency acknowledges our connection to each other, the world and the universe. Rather than an “Om”, this class was united by laughter and positive energy. I would also argue that sharing your mat with a goat establishes a sense of connection with nature.
Know Before You Go
- Price: $22 online, $24 at the door. Because the class size is limited to 15 people, tickets sell out fast. I would recommend buying them online.
- Plan to stay after class for a special treat. Owners, Mike and Heather invite the class to help feed the goats for their post-yoga meal. (As if cuddling with them on your yoga mat wasn’t heart-warming enough.)
- When considering attending a goat yoga class, the first question everyone asks is “What if the goat has an accident on me?” I’m not going to lie to you. A goat is a living creature that has to do its “business” too. Although it is unlikely to go on you, it is possible that it may go on or near your mat. Go with an open mind. If a goat pees, poos or nibbles on your hair, it is all part of the experience. Laugh a little. With that being said, the owners do take incredible care of their property, their goats, and their guests. If a goat should have an accident during the class, it is cleaned up immediately. The studio is cared for by a cleaning crew after every class. I have been to plenty of petting zoos, and theirs are the most loveable and clean goats I have ever seen. It warms my heart to see Mike and Heather take such good care of their “kids”.
- Autumn Ridge is a beautiful 55-acre property, tucked away in the heart of Lexington Virginia. In addition to the barn, the property also has three country cabins for rent. They rent out between $144 – $210 per night depending on which cabin and the time of the week.
While yes it may be a novelty, it is undoubtedly a fun experience! If you don’t giggle and melt over the little goats then there is something wrong with you. I for one am looking forward to Autumn Ridge Aerial Silks with Goats, and yes, that is in the works!
Planning a trip to Lexington? Check out “Lexington, Virginia: 12 of the Best Adventures, Activities, and Attractions”
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This Post Has 19 Comments
Your triceps gave me real fitness goals and I am planning to hit Yoga session from tomorrow! I never really understood the concept of Goat Yoga till now and honestly found it funny. But now I understand it a little after reading your post. I love goats in general, they look so kind and obedient.
Haven’t really tried this, though have heard about it a lot of times. This is the first time, I am getting to know what its like, by seeing your pics. Its kinda interesting, specially if one loves Goats. The question is, who doesn’t like these wonderful playful cute creatures?
Exactly! Those little goats are too adorable not to love them!
I have NEVER heard of goat yoga before, this was a real revelation! It sounds like so much fun and I totally agree that interacting with animals is a great way to make you feel better. Especially goats!
It is impossible not to smile when you have these adorable guys prancing around and nuzzling your leg.
There are so many variants of Yoga these days. I had heard about Goat Yoga but was not really aware of what exactly it was. Your post has provided valuable insights into this unique variant of the ancient practice of Yoga.
That was one of the reasons we tried it too. We had heard the words “goat yoga” tossed around quite a bit but never really knew what it was. We wanted to find out so we signed up!
This is interesting. This is actually my first time to hear about goat yoga and I think it’s going to be fun. I love animals so, I don’t really mind having them during my yoga sessions.
We love animals too and pygmy goats are just too adorable not to enjoy.
Goat yoga seems to be really fun. Yoga is about mindfulness which is so true and I’m just imagining myself being in savasana while listening to the pitter-patter of wandering goats around me. That would be really nice. But your triceps are a kill, I am surely going to practice chaturanga harder.
Chatarungas are my favorite…and low plank. Both great for the triceps 🙂
Goat yoga!!! Really? Well this was completely new to me. With or without goat, yoga is amazing. It does help to take charge of mind and body. I am not sure how will I handle goats being around. I think it will take time to focus. But then I am sure there are benefits of having the goats around.
Haha it is definitely a challenge being able to focus, but I guess that will just strengthen my ability to center my mind and focus on the movement and breathe. When I go back to normal yoga, Ill be a pro! Jk
Must say this is the strangest form of yoga I have heard of but guess it’s got its unique charm. I had never heard or thought of anything like this so thanks for your post on showing me this new way of yoga. They are quite cute and friendly animals in general so why not. Would love to see the reaction in a place like London if it started.
Haha, you should check it out! I am sure someone must have started a goat yoga practice there by now, it is all over the place here in the US. I am sure the hype will die down in a year or 2, but in the meantime, I sure am enjoying yoga with these little fur balls!
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