If you have a pet you have probably experienced their behavior when you exercise at home. If you use a mat, they like to sit in the middle of it; if you are on any machine, they like to be just close enough that you are concerned throughout the entire workout that they may get too close. But there is something comforting about having your pet with you as you exercise your body to rid itself of physical and emotional stress.
But, did you know that incorporating animals into your workout, specifically goats, can actually be beneficial? Yes, goat yoga is fast becoming popular and has proven to lift spirits, lessen feelings of sadness and stress and provide other therapeutic effects such as decreasing cortisol levels and increasing levels of dopamine and oxytocin.
Goat Yoga was the brainchild of Lainey Morse, of Oregon, who after a divorce and diagnosis of an auto-immune disease, bought some property and because she always wanted a goat, got one. From there, she got a few more goats because she found that being around the goats made her happy. She started asking friends over for Goat Happy Hour and they also found hanging with the goats was a great stress reliever. After a friend suggested they incorporate yoga into the mix, the Original Goat Yoga was born. A brief way to explain how Goat Yoga is conducted – Nigerian Dwarf goats are incorporated into the yoga class, roaming about and routinely hopping on the backs of participants (they only weight about 15 pounds.)
If you’re looking to take a goat yoga class, visit goatyoga.net. Original Goat Yoga locations are available in California, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, and Oregon.
So, put one of these locations on your next road trip and in the meantime, take Fido for a run or let Miss Kitty sit alongside while you do your own downward dog at home. Simply interacting with a pet can have the same effects in regard to decreasing stress levels and increasing the happiness effect that comes with elevated levels of oxytocin. The added benefit from the exercise is simply the icing on the cake.