Healing through animals has always had a profound influence on most of our lives. We see it with dogs who assist disabled or autistic children, blind or deaf people. Animals balance our lives, helping us to laugh, calm down, and relax, so when it came time to get a creative healing boost in yoga, April Gould and Sarah Williams joined forces to create Arizona Goat Yoga. Their concept, which began in 2015, has now spread throughout the United States, but it was the brainchild of April and Sarah. Now Goat Yoga is one of the top 10 things to do when visiting Arizona.
Goat yoga is not your typical yoga. It is nurturing and brings people from all walks of life together to exercise, laugh, and for one hour during class, enjoy nature, animals, and brighten your day. Goat yoga can only be done outside in a grassy pasture. When you have to go, goats go. The goat’s poops in pellets, so it lands in the grass and fertilizes the earth. Hey, it is part of the goat yoga experience.
April was known as the “American Ninja Warrior.” She used goats to train and exercise for the competition show. April soon became the goat whisperer as she raised her Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Today, she has 35 goats.
If April could use the goats for her training, why not let other people enjoy the goats. In comes Sarah, a certified yoga instructor who incorporated something different into her routine. She created paddleboard yoga, but this was not enough since it was a summer activity. She needed a winter challenge, and knowing April and her goats, they combined forces to begin Arizona Goat Yoga.
My best analogy for goat yoga is goat agility. Being the dog person I am, I think of humans as the obstacles in a dog agility course. The goats have to maneuver around humans. They go over, around, and under our bodies. The only difference, the goats are not judged on their ability to master the course. Instead, they are judged on how they make each of us feel.
Visiting Arizona Goat Yoga
I discovered Arizona Goat Yoga while on a media trip to Gilbert, Arizona. Unfortunately, it rained the day we were to experience goat yoga, but when the skies cleared, we got to meet a couple of the goats and experience a shortened version. These black and white mini goats capture your hearts immediately. Clad with a floral crown, these goats are very social, more so than most goats. We can attribute that to April. There is a reason she is called the goat whisperer.
Probably the best way to experience goat yoga is from the following positions:
- In the downward-facing dog position, the goat will jump on your back and walk down.
- In cow pose, the goat jumps on your back and stay for a bit.
- While in the Warrior II, the goats walk under your legs.
- The goat walks on your stomach in the bridge pose.
- Goats will climb up on your back during the half-forward bend.
- The plank pose also has the goats on your back.
There are many more positions that include the goats moving through your actions.
I can assure you that trying goat yoga will make you walk away with a big smile. If the goats are not enough, April and Sarah have added cow cuddling and Alpaca (kisses) yoga.
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Note: Common to the travel industry, this writer was hosted on a media trip that included this experience. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.