My goat yoga experience was like my in-home Pilates workouts. At home, when I lay down to begin the workout, my 45-pound dog jumps on my stomach thinking it is playtime. Similarly, during goat yoga, while on my back about to begin a magical yoga pose, a 40-pound goat jumped on my stomach. The difference is, the goat knew when playtime was over and let me carry on with the workout.
Yes. Goat yoga is a thing and it is basically what it sounds like, practicing yoga in the presence of goats.
Born out of a destination that touts its weirdness, Portland, Ore., goat yoga is practiced across the country and around the world, including here in the Sunshine State. It began the summer of 2016 on a farm in Albany, 75 miles south of Portland. Lainey Morse, owner of No Regrets Farm, hosted a birthday party which led to a yoga session where her resident goats mingled with participants and they were a hit. After that, Morse began offering goat yoga on her farm and others around the world have followed her lead. I would hate to wonder what the Yoga alliance insurance policy is for goats, but I don’t think anyone minds when they are running around.
Goat yoga sessions are popping up throughout Florida and I managed to find one in a unique setting. While most are held on farms, parks, inside barns, or yoga studios, Goat Yoga Tampa is held on the outdoor deck at In The Loop Brewing in Land O’Lakes, Fla. It may be the only goat yoga practice in the state, if not the country, held at a brewery and includes a complimentary beer afterwards.
Kelly Diedring Harris, who refers to herself as Goat Momma, and her husband Jeff Harris launched Goat Yoga Tampa launched last year. Already owners of three Nigerian Dwarf goats, Jeff showed Kelly an article about goat yoga making fun of it which inspired his wife to try and replicate it in the Tampa area.
Sessions were initially held on the Harris property but due to its popularity and need to accommodate more people, they partnered with In The Loop Brewing in September. Goat yoga is held twice a month and can accommodate between 30 and 33 people ages 10 years old or older.
Surprisingly, the hour-long yoga session was a decent, productive workout full of body contortions and laughs. Goats are social animals and the three goats, named Brooks, Garth and Jeter, followed Ms. Diedring Harris as she sprinkled peanut hay and kibble on yoga mats. The goats seemed to enjoy the human interaction and jumped on people’s backs, butted heads, and nibbled on ponytails.
What does it take to be a good yoga goat? While Goat Yoga Tampa’s are Nigerian Dwarf goats, Ms. Diedring Harris is aware of other goat breeds being used. As long as it is “calm, sweet, and comfortable, it will make a great goat,” she said.
Her tribe of goats recently grew from three to five with the addition of two more Nigerian dwarf goats, and a sixth on the way. Coincidently, I have something in common with the two new adorable kids. It was our first goat yoga session.
Goat yoga is a trip! Participants can expect “your cheeks to hurt from smiling because it is an hour of pure joy with goats jumping on you,” Ms. Diedring Harris said, “and maybe a little goat print on your back when they jump on you.”
Nuts & Bolts
Goat Yoga Tampa offers one-hour goat yoga sessions twice a month at In The Loop Brewing in Land O’Lakes, Fla. Reservations are strongly recommended as they sell out quickly. Arrive early to ensure a prime spot and bring your own yoga mat and water. Children must be at least 10 years old to participate. Sessions are $35 plus tax and includes a choice of complimentary beer, beermosa or wine after class.
After the yoga session, participants have plenty of time to interact with the goats including holding them and posing for photos with one on their back and for goat selfies. In The Loop Brewing offers a relaxing setting with Adirondack chairs and picnic tables perfect for unwinding. Food is not available onsite but feel free to pack a lunch and enjoy it with your free adult beverage.
Oh, and don’t worry if the goats poop around you. Someone is on poop-scoop patrol.
View additional goat yoga photos on Flickr.
Goat Yoga Tampa
Tel: (727) 744-9894
In The Loop Brewing
3338 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
Land O Lakes, Fla. 34639
Tel: (813) 997-9189