By Anna Robertson Ham
Many of you have seen the pictures and videos of little goats jumping from back to back of yoga class goers and probably thought “how fun!” That is exactly what Melody Nash hoped for when she and her husband, Jason, began their journey of bringing goat yoga to the area. Goat yoga is exactly what it sounds like – a yoga class with goats!
The idea for goat yoga began in Oregon, when it was suggested that goats would be fun to do a yoga class with because they are sweet and love to jump and climb. “Since goats are very friendly sociable animals and prove to be very therapeutic for those who have anxiety and stress, why not goats,” says Melody. “Goat yoga is basically a yoga class on a farm with baby goats hopping about and they may even hop on you.”
The Nash’s hold the classes on their beautiful farm in Brentwood, where they also have dogs greet you and horses grazing in the fields – but it is the baby Nigerian dwarf goats that are the stars. The classes are all outdoors and taught by a certified yoga teacher. “It starts off with a grand entrance goat parade into the class area from the barn and then an hour-long yoga class filled with laughter, baby goats and fresh air,” says Melody. She and Jason walk around the participants during the class to keep the goats spread out and maybe even encourage them with some treats during certain moves.
You’re probably wondering how the goats know what to do during the classes? How do you train the goats to playfully interact and jump onto the backs of those participating? Melody says that they helped some of the baby goats along with grain and treats and a lot of interaction since they were born, but others naturally jump around. There are also some goats that are more laid back and simply enjoy eating and being loved on during the classes. “They’re all different and that balances the class out,” she explains.
Melody has seen first-hand the change that occurs with the participants of the goat yoga classes on her farm. Studies have shown blood pressure lower from the beginning of a class to the end. Someone having a stressful day – or week – will feel their worries lift away throughout the class. Yoga is a big part of the change but it is the animals that significantly lift the spirits. Pet therapy has been proven in numerous cases to improve one’s mood, mobility and quality of life. So, exercise and animals together – WIN WIN!
Like yoga? Like being outside? Like animals? Well then Goat Yoga Nashville needs to be your next try. I promise, you won’t regret it!