Goat yoga is all the rage these days, and it’s easy to understand why! It combines the stress-releasing benefits of yoga with the relaxation of being around sweet animals. It provides a wonderful opportunity for urban dwellers to get up close and personal with these adorable, loving creatures.

Goats make excellent pets, as those who grew up on farms can attest. They’re smart, energetic, and love to be around people. They even enjoy cuddle time with humans! If you’re looking for a way to elevate your yoga practice, why not try goat yoga? Keep reading to learn more about goat yoga and a few of its health benefits.

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What Is Goat Yoga?

Goat yoga is exactly what it sounds like! You do yoga in the presence of goats. The first goat yoga classes were offered in an Oregon field in 2016. Since then, the popularity of these laid-back classes has grown astronomically, with more studios offering the in-demand classes nationwide.

Every studio has its own take on goat yoga. Some provide each client with their own goat to interact with during the class, and others allow the goats to wander about and engage with students as they please. Goats love to climb on people doing yoga, so be prepared for a bit of four-footed assistance during the class.

Many of these sessions take place outdoors, which makes the experience even more appealing. The classes usually cost a bit more than regular sessions, which makes sense as you’re paying for the upkeep of the goats and the actual yoga instruction. Goat sessions are often sold out far in advance, and many studios have waiting lists for spaces, so be prepared to cool your heels a bit before getting started.

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The 8 Health Benefits of Goat Yoga

Now that you know precisely what goat yoga is, read on for more information about some of the practice’s health benefits!

1. Reduces Stress

Recent studies indicate a clear relationship between stress and the development of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping stress levels under control is one of the most important things you can do for your overall mental and physical health. Goat yoga gives you a powerful two for one in the well-being department, as both yoga and petting animals deliver powerful stress-reducing benefits. Both release endorphins and oxytocin, making goat yoga a potent stress-reducing activity.

woman taking care of goat
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2. Lowers Blood Pressure

Around 46% of adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure. High blood pressure greatly increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and the condition has also been linked to greater chances of developing dementia and suffering vision loss. Exercise and weight management often lead to blood pressure improvements. Studies have shown that yoga and being around loving animals, hallmarks of goat yoga, can help lower blood pressure.

3. Decreases Heart Rate

Regularly hitting the yoga mat can also help lower your heart rate. Yoga has many cardiovascular benefits and provides an excellent low-impact workout that combines cardiovascular conditioning with flexibility and strength training. Most adults need around 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for optimum heart health. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends two strength training sessions per week, which you’ll more than get by doing a plank while supporting a 15-pound goat!

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4. Increases Flexibility

Flexibility may not seem like the biggest health issue in the world, but without enough of it, you’re increasingly likely to fall and injure yourself as you age. Yoga gently increases practitioners’ range of motion over time, making it easier to get up from the floor without using your hands.

Lack of flexibility often causes stiffness and pain, which can often be addressed by regular stretching. Activities such as tai chi and yoga stretch all the muscles in your body, increase your flexibility over time, and allow your body to function smoothly as you age. Most people experience more joint and muscle stiffness in their 50s and 60s.

5. Manages Pain

Yoga has long been recognized as an effective pain management tool. The controlled breathing of a yoga session can work wonders regarding pain reduction, and yoga’s gentle movement gets synovial fluid flowing into creaky joints. Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes or have a few physical limitations; most yoga poses can be altered so that students of all abilities and experience levels can participate. Just let your teacher know about any physical concerns so they can help you with adjustments.

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6. Improves Sleep Quality

Many people report sleeping better once they start doing yoga regularly. A few poses followed by controlled breathing to encourage relaxation appear to have benefits as far as falling and staying asleep are concerned. In one study, 55% of the participants slept better after doing a series of seven relaxing poses.

Getting enough sleep is critical to good health. Insufficient sleep contributes to weight gain, depression, and even the development of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night to function well.

7. Strengthens Lungs

Breathing is an essential part of any yoga practice, and it turns out that it’s great for people with lung conditions such as asthma and chronic pulmonary obstruction disorder (COPD). Yoga can actually help asthma and COPD sufferers learn how to use their lungs efficiently. And many yoga poses double as strength training exercises that build breathing-related muscles, which is a process that makes it easier to inhale and exhale.

woman having yoga
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8. Boosts Happiness

Regular exercise increases happiness. It also protects against cognitive decline and reduces depression. Yoga counts as moderate-intensity exercise, and it is precisely the type that kicks oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) production into gear.

Being around animals improves your mood and lowers anxiety as well. With goat yoga, you get all the benefits of hanging out with animals without having to clean up any poop! To boost your goat yoga up a notch, sign up for outdoor classes to enjoy the healing power of nature and soak up a few vitamin-D-stimulating rays.

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Goat yoga lets you enjoy two fun activities: yoga and being around animals. It’s great for your physical conditioning and mental health! Goat yoga has several health benefits, including stress and anxiety relief.

It can also lower your blood pressure and improve your heart rate. A regular yoga routine can boost flexibility, manage pain, and improve sleep quality, and that’s just from the yoga! Add the stress-reducing and joy-increasing benefits of petting an animal, and you’ve got one of the most powerful health-improving workouts around!

Featured Image Credit: Simon Collins, Shutterstock