Goat Yoga a Hit at Agribition
by Heidi Atter
New to the Canadian Western Agribition this year, Grotto Garden’s Goat Yoga is gathering crowds of children and adults alike to watch and participate. Grotto Gardens was invited by Agribition as a part of the entertainment portion.
“It’s nice to have something that has involvement of animals,” said Bruce Holmquist, president of the Canadian Western Agribition. “I think it’s appealing and entertaining and gets consumers in touch with agriculture and animals.”
The goat yoga area is set up in a small gated space in the Canada Centre Show Sale Arena with 19 mats in a circle and one in the center for the instructor. Each session is about 30 minutes during which the goats roam around, lick people, sniff people and even cuddle up to participants.
Dana Hassett is the owner of Grotto Gardens, located just outside of Maple Creek, Sask. Hassett said the concept is “combining the animal therapy, in this case goats, with the physical activity of yoga.”
One of the challenges for goat yoga is what to do with their “droplets” during the sessions. “The goats, they’re always letting little droplets go and have to urinate,” Hassett said. “The people that are partaking are expecting that somewhat.”
“Some people in Kelowna, they put diapers on [the goats], but we just couldn’t go there,” Hassett said.
“I touched a goat,” called out one young Agribition attendee.
Ceara Caton and Louellen Murray are the two goat yoga instructors at Agribition.
“It is an adventure and always different every time,” Caton said. “It’s rewarding because it becomes a joyful practice when you’re surrounded by completely innocent and loving animals during your yoga.”
Murray said she didn’t know what to think when the idea of goat yoga first came up. She said she first say it on YouTube, where “It was an internet sensation.”
Murray says yoga in general can be intimidating for some newcomers but “It’s impossible to feel intimidated with goats.”
Shantelle Seibel works in rehabilitation with brain injuries. “We have done goat yoga in our Saskatoon location,” Seibel said. “As soon as we saw it, we ran over.”
Yogi Jody MacNamara was chaperoning a school group including her daughter. “I’m interested to see how this works with the kids in there,” she said.
MacNamara’s Grade 6 daughter Lauren Hastings tried goat yoga with her classmates. “It was so awesome, because sometimes when they step on you they’d come up close,” Hastings said. “A lot of them pooped kinda right in front of you, it was so cool. If it came to Regina I think it would be so popular.”
Although no Regina sessions are planned yet, the principal of St. Gregory School, Sharlene Holliday said, “I think it would be really good for children with anxiety and those that need to understand mindfulness.”
Holliday would like to see goat yoga in schools. She said, “If they were able to come in May and June and we could do it on our school playground, it would be wonderful for the children.”
“It’s laughable, it’s beautiful, but it is yoga,” instructor Murray said. “It brings us back to our agricultural roots and you leave with such a sense of calm and zen.”
*First Published at Jschool.ca*