Looking for a fun-filled way to burn calories? What if it was through laughter? When you combine yoga with goats, your face will hurt from smiling afterward. Kidding Around contributor India spent an hour with Greenville Goat Yoga and got the scoop on what to expect when you sign up for a class with a seasoned yoga teacher and a small team of goats.
When a friend asked me if I wanted to join her for a session of goat yoga, I immediately signed up. I had heard of goat yoga before but had never seen it offered in Greenville. Plus, lately, I want to do all the things–especially those that are going to bring a smile to my face. And it was hosted at a place I know and love. So, goat yoga? Sign me up!
How did Greenville Goat Yoga come to be?
Greenville Goat Yoga (GGY) is the brainchild of locals Adam House and Mitchell Shugars. Adam and Mitchell saw an opportunity to bring joy to the community by putting a few pieces together among their friends and family. Adam’s dad got into yoga and extolled its physical and mental benefits to his son. Adam’s friend and co-owner of GGY Mitchell has a passion for rehabbing animals, which, at GGY’s inception, included a goat. Adam’s girlfriend is a vet tech, who helps care for the goats. Mitchell’s wife is an attorney, who helped Adam and Mitchell craft the business end of the GGY. Put it together with the idea that people are looking for fun and new things to do after a strange and stressful year? GGY was born.
What is goat yoga?
Most simply, goat yoga is doing yoga in the presence of goats. And, as our goat yoga instructor Abbey Garcia explained, during goat yoga, “Laughter is the breath.” If you are looking for a serious yoga class, this is not it! You will move through your asanas, but they will be punctuated by unbridled laughter and smiles thanks to your new caprine friends Billy, Kevin, Cookie, and Cream. These four are the GGY squad of Nigerian Dwarf goats and they will keep you in stitches. During the class I took, Marshall and Adam shepherded the goats around the enclosed yoga pen while Abbey led our group of about a dozen students through a simple series of asanas. The only time I strained and muttered under my breath was during the dreaded side plank.
In the meantime, the goats will nudge you, let you cuddle them, and, if you’d like, you can have a goat stand on your back during a tabletop or child’s pose. Don’t worry! The three youngest goats only weigh about 15 pounds. Billy, on the other hand, is the oldest and largest and is best left on terra firma.
A nice touch at the end of class was when GGY students were each given a cool, damp washcloth. In the swampy South Carolina heat, it was a treat. If you forget your water bottle, the GGY staff will also offer you a bottle of cold water.
What are the risks?
Content warning: Poop.
Goats poop… and you might get a little goat poop on yourself or your mat. Gratefully, goat poop is the shape of small pellets and just brushes right off. (My son thought it was hilarious when Kevin decided to evacuate onto my foot during a pigeon pose.) Do not bring your best yoga mat. You will probably want to wash yours after class. GGY offers cleaning spray and paper towels available for use when class wraps up.
Don’t want your mat to get soiled? GGY will loan you a mat for $2.
Who is goat yoga for?
If you’re looking for an hour of wide smiles and gut-busting laughter, goat yoga is for you. This is definitely a family-friendly environment. My husband and kids (ages 3 and 7) came along to watch the antics unfold. Plus, before and after the class, they got to feed, pet, and cuddle the goats too. During the class, they reached their hands through the fenced area, fed the goats a little kibble, and laughed at the spectacle. When they weren’t enthralled by the class, they ran around in the yard. Kids are welcome to sign up for goat yoga, but it’s probably best left for older kids who like to do yoga and who know to move their hand out of the way of Billy’s hooves when he comes walking by. (I’d say about age 9 or older.)
My friend was also in class with me and it was great to share laughter and make memories with her and with my family. If you bring a friend, your laughter will double.
Ready to sign up?
If you want to give goat yoga a try, follow Greenville Goat Yoga’s Instagram or Facebook accounts to find out where the caprine crew will be next. So far they’ve offered classes at East Riverside Park and Southern Growl.
Upcoming goat yoga classes are scheduled for East Riverside Park. You can find a list of upcoming events on the Greenville Goat Yoga website.
Enrollment in a class costs $25 or more depending on the venue. (A beverage was included in the cost of the Southern Growl class. Other venues might offer similar perks.)
Future events will likely include other breweries, apartment complexes, parks, and similar spaces. If you’d like to host goat yoga in your community or venue, GGY welcomes it. Co-owner Adam explains that they hope to bring the fun to nursing homes, birthday parties, and anywhere else that calls for the unique levity that a posse of goats brings.
When will you try goat yoga?