Haven’t you often thought, lying there on your yoga mat while you breathe into your belly and leave the stress of your day far behind, that what would really round things out at the studio would be…well, some goats? No? Well, you might some day. Lainey Morse of Oregon did and it led to this.
According to an article on People.com, goat yoga is the new rage in Albany, Oregon. Yes, goat yoga. Participants hold poses in a field of farmer’s hay surrounded by goats. The animals wander in and out and over the relaxing, and sometimes giggling, humans.
How did such a wonderful and crazy thing come about? The creator of the new trend is Lainey Morse, the owner of No Regrets Farm. Morse moved to the west coast from Michigan some time back. Initially she worked as a portrait and editorial photographer and specialized in photographing newborns and families.
But following some health issues in 2015, her life changed course.
Morse decided to leave photography behind. She turned her farm into a business, and began experimenting with new forms of entrepreneurship. When she met a yoga instructor at a birthday party being hosted at her farm one day, she got to discussing the idea of offering goat yoga to participants.
The rest, as they say, has been history.
Morse’s website states that her current goal is to specialize in providing animal-assisted therapy to people suffering from grief or abuse, and for those requiring treatments for special needs and disabilities.
The creative farmer has yet to develop a full program of treatment, but her first venture has proven to be a hit. Reports indicate that people actually drive from over 100 miles to attend her animal-friendly class.
While the idea of goat yoga may seem revolutionary, the idea of using animals for therapy has been around for a long time, and Morse is joining a well-respected crowd. Using animals such as dogs as therapy is a common practice in places like nursing homes, hospitals and schools where well-trained visiting dogs offer residents and patients a break from the worries and monotony of institutional life. Experts say petting animals can lower blood pressure and raise feelings of happiness and joy, greatly improving spirits.
Other nontraditional creatures used in therapy beyond goats include donkeys, such as those at the British Donkey Sanctuary. The sanctuary offers donkey-assisted therapy for both children and adults. The interactions assist in improving confidence, self-esteem, major and minor motor skills, and core balance while providing emotional and physical benefits to older adults with dementia.
What’s next for the goats at No Regrets Farm? Nothing new, but definitely more yoga, since it seems to suit them so well.
“My goats are just very peaceful animals and everyone that comes over leaves stress free and happy,” wrote Morse to People.com. “When they chew their cud it’s almost like they go into a meditative state and it’s very soothing to watch and it’s perfect to combine with yoga.”
Not near Albany, Oregon but wish you could share some reflective time with animals?
People.com indicated that Morse may have plans to travel with her side kicks, bringing her goats to additional locations in the future. And if she’s successful, who knows- maybe the idea will catch on.
It may be worth checking out your local tourist farm, to see what they have on the schedule this fall.