We’ve Got the Bleat

Goat yoga relaxes mind and body.

Last fall, Virginia Tech welcomed students back to campus with a different sort of class. 

In collaboration with the Blacksburg Yoga Collective, hundreds of students were invited to spread their yoga mats on the green outside Moss Arts Center for the event, which included some special—and hooved—guests. Welcome to goat yoga.

Goat yoga has been popularized in the past year by innovative farms enjoying proximity to cities like Seattle and New York hosting retreats and weekend glamping experiences for urbanites. (Social media feeds have blown up with photos of the adorable helpers.) The trend reached the Commonwealth early last spring, when Beth A. Wolfe, a yoga instructor from Arlington, began offering classes at the Little Goat Farm at the Lake in Nokesville.

Since then, classes have been popping up all over the state, from Roanoke and Blacksburg to Colonial Beach and Alexandria, where Wolfe now hosts regular “Naaaamaste” workshops at her home studio Ease Yoga and Cafe. Aspiring yogis of all ages are invited to participate in gentle flow (or Hatha) yoga classes in the company of free-roaming goats. For their part, the goats, which are naturally curious and social, will often nuzzle up in practitioners’ laps during lotus pose or hop on their backs during plank pose. 

“They’re a novelty,” says Wolfe. “We’re mostly city-dwellers, so we don’t get to interact with goats very often.”

Animals have long been studied for their positive effect on humans: Ongoing research at VCU’s Center for Human-Animal interaction has demonstrated long-term benefits for people who have consistent interaction with animals, which is proven to raise serotonin and endorphins in the body, a goal of most prescribed anti-depressants—and yoga practice.

Wolfe, who specializes in trauma-informed yoga and works with clients affected by post-traumatic stress, says, “People are moved by animals, so it’s a good match. We work on breathing and movement, and when the goats come around, people take a break to touch or hold them. Everyone is very much in the moment, just being present.”


Look for other goat yoga classes at Silver Maple Farm in Berryville and Goat Gurus in Roanoke.

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