When I first tell people about our Goat Yoga classes, most either think it’s “interesting” or “hilarious”. And I agree, it is kind of both. But yoga has gotten some backlash for all of its trendy new takes on the practice, from BeerYoga to Hot Yoga to yes, Goat Yoga. Yoga, like everything else, has its critics. But is combining yoga, steeped in thousands of years of tradition and methodology, with beer, heat, or animals, taking something away from the practice? In my opinion, it depends on what you consider to be a practice.
Let’s go back for a second to what yoga really is. Beyond the poses, the sweaty arm balances, the lotus on the beach, meditating at sunset awesomeness of what our images of yoga may be. The foundations of the practice; the reason the practice is so hard; the reason for that euphoric “ahhhhh” feeling after an hour of “paying attention” on your mat; the reason so many of us strive to be yogi, and are so eager to hop on any bandwagon that will get us there. Yoga enables us to be our best selves, and to let go of the negativity and toxicity that surrounds us and influences us. Yoga gives us the freedom to be who we are naturally, and to be okay with just being, with presence. Yoga quite simply means to unite mind, body and spirit, and according to the sutras, yoga is the “cessation of the fluctuation of the mindstuff”. In other words, yoga quiets the mind and the ego. Yoga’s yamas and niyamas teach kindness, compassion, truthfulness, nonjudgment, and self-discipline; to relinquish hostility and to live less materially and more cleanly. To honor not only yourself, but the living beings that surround us, and our environment.
Yoga is work, and through this work we help to create a more peaceful and sustaining space for ourselves and a more peaceful and sustaining universe.
Yoga is only in part what happens on the mat; but mostly it’s about what happens off the mat.
With this in mind, does it really matter if yoga is practiced on paddleboards or in a heated room or with animals? Isn’t it still the same practice? If you drink a glass of locally crafted beer before, after, or during your asana practice, does that make it less of a practice? If, while doing downward dog, a goat jumps on your back or you get distracted by a puppy nuzzling your arm, does that take away from living mindfully? If your yoga is playing a round of golf, rock climbing, or sailing your boat, does that make you less of a yogi? I would argue not.
Goat Yoga is not only a way to make yoga accessible and fun, and to bring people to the mat that maybe needed a little extra incentive to begin a practice, but it’s also about connecting to animals and nature, a basic human need. I think Goat Yoga has been such a big trend in cities across the country because people are yearning for the excuse to spend time with nature, and with animals. Being on a beautiful farm, with amazing little creatures, away from the stressors of everyday life doesn’t hurt either. Through our Goat Yoga classes, we hope that people will find a reconnection to – and maybe a newfound love for – outdoors and animal life. And find the space to explore the practice of yoga and what that may mean for them. Lastly, we want – and expect – students to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, while also uplifted and happy because of their new animal friends!
I encourage you to make your yoga your practice, whatever that may be. If you love nature, and/or you love animals, or if you’re curious what a farm animal yoga class would be like, for if you’re just into trying new things, you are welcome to our Goat Yoga classes, and we hope you’ll come. New to the practice or seasoned practitioner, all are welcome! We encourage students to stay after to snuggle with the animals and take pictures if they want!
Serving Burlington, Colchester, St Albans, Essex, Essex Junction, Williston, Winooski, South Burlington, Shelburne, Charlotte, Jericho, Underhill, St. George, Hinesburg, Huntington, Richmond, Bolton, Stowe, Montpelier, Middlebury, Vergennes, Starksboro, and all over VT and everywhere else!
Water and Rock Studio Presents:
Goat Yoga is a thing. And we’re doing it! With several adorable baby goats and fun-loving adult goats, this is a yoga class you’ll never forget. Practice yoga while these cuties nuzzle you, sniff you, and maybe even jump on you in their natural yogi element! Stay and play with animals after! No experience needed. All levels welcome.
Location: Midnight Goat Farm, 9613 Main Rd, Huntington, VT
When: Sundays 10-11am
Cost: $35/drop-ins (advanced registration required)
Register today as spots are filling quickly!