Erica Rae Sanchez
As I walked through the doors of Hot Yoga in Claremont Sunday, I was excited and curious as to how I was about to perform “goat yoga,” as I had never even been to a regular yoga class before.
There were around 13 people there, some experienced and some beginners, which did not matter because the place was welcoming to first timers.
Goat yoga is a fairly new practice. It started in 2016 and has been growing quite popular, according to Consumer News and Business Channel.
It is supposed to bring one closer to nature while also incorporating animal therapy.
The yoga session involved yin yoga, which is slow-paced and geared toward beginners. Though but the instructor had alter some of the positions to incorporate the goats.
The instructor, Neil, played nature sounds in the background and explained that this was because our minds cannot distinguish between a soundtrack and the actual sounds of nature, which brings our state of mind back to nature – naturally.
The positions required arching our backs forward so the two goats, Sequoia and Sedona, could jump on them.
This provided an extra weight that helped push my back to the ground. The goats were kept on a leash and persuaded with food as they were led to each of us 13 yogis in the class.
Throughout the session the goats – who are step sisters–would occasionally get into head butting fights with one another because they would both want to jump on one of our backs at the same time. One goat even pooped in the middle of the studio.
The session was cut so people could take pictures with the goats. A benefit of the animal therapy for me was when a goat jumped on my back, it was an exciting and calming experience to be able to interact with the animal. This resulted in a very calm energy throughout the session.
The soundtrack helped add an ambiance of nature that allowed me to realize how connected our bodies are with nature, and the lack of interaction humans receive with nature because of our lifestyles, Neil explained.
Overall, the experience was enlightening. The goats made the yoga more interesting and lighthearted. The instructor was great at incorporating the goats into yin yoga. He gave a thorough explanation of the terminology used, explained why the group was performing such poses, and was accepting of everyone’s experience.
At the end I felt a calming presence over my body and mind because I was truly relaxed throughout the one session.
Hot Yoga Claremont is at 859 W. Foothill Blvd. It offers classes daily, and Goat Yoga monthly.
Erica Rae Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.