Kidding Around

Kidding Around

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Health & Fitness Issue: February 2017
Group Free
Pin It
Varied Practice
Want more unusual yoga or animal-assisted exercise? Give these a spin. 

Aerial Yoga: Hang from silk cloth and ropes while striking yoga poses at Vertical Fix in Tempe. theverticalfix.com

Swim with Dolphins: Swim with bottlenose dolphins and mimic their athletic underwater moves at Scottsdale theme park Dolphinaris. dolphinaris-arizona.com

Rooftop Yoga: Get in top shape on the top of a building at one of several rooftop yoga classes around the Valley. Sutra Studios (sutrastudios.com) in Phoenix, the Graduate Tempe hotel (graduatetempe.com) and Lustre Rooftop Bar at Hotel Palomar (lustrerooftopbar.com) in Downtown Phoenix all offer classes.

Many yoga poses are named after animals: downward-facing dog, peacock, cat, cobra – there’s even a “cow face” pose. But a baby goat pose?

We’re not kidding – as you may have seen in local media, goat yoga is a thing, and February is birthing season at Arizona Goat Yoga in Gilbert. Goat farmer April Gould says she and her business partner, yoga instructor Sarah Williams, expect their pregnant herd of eight will more than double this month, and those kids are coming to yoga mats near you.

The idea is simple – folks go out into an idyllic meadow to do yoga with Williams and the goats. They get a range of patrons, from those who just want to meditate with goats to serious yogis doing pretzel-like poses with goat buddies. The point is fun, Williams says, which is why they have a photographer at all classes. “The goats are extremely friendly. They love people,” Gould says.

“I think people like to do yoga classes out in nature, but then having a goat, it kind of takes away the stress of having to do a whole bunch of yoga and do it really good,” Williams says. “It helps relieve that anxiety a little bit.”

Goats are certified emotional support animals, Gould adds, so there’s a lot of laughter with the calm creatures, but hardcore exercise potential is there, as well. “I’ve had people tell me, ‘I actually did get a really good workout,’” Gould says. “It’s like any yoga class – you’ll get back as much as you put into it.”

One thing you might get on your back is a baby goat – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “We’re kind of training them, so they’re getting good about not just jumping on people,” Williams says. “But people actually ask for the goats to be on them. They want to do yoga, with a goat.”
Coming this spring is a ninja goat boot camp, complete with planking alongside goats, pushups and squats while carrying a 20- to 30-pound goat, and goat-inspired parkour feats.