Although many people have Goat Yoga on their fun-things-to-do bucket-list, we feel that under the surface, what we do is a little bit deeper then that. Mindful Goat Yoga inception took place in a backyard of a friend with some dairy goats and a 150 lb. goat named Feta with 9 inch horns. (Shout out to Maison de Chevre Dairy Farm) We brought some of our friends by, most of whom attend a special needs adult school here on Cape Cod, where some of our team had worked as 1:1 behavior specialists and psychotherapists, and what we observed was pure JOY. Our visiting friends who typically suffered from both physical and behavioral issues, experienced an obvious diminishing of outbursts and typical physical behavioral issues in the hours immediately following their time with the animals. It seemed like, for a moment in time, their physical and emotional buckets had been filled and that the intimate relationship often felt between human and animal had sweetly left its Zen-like mark on each one of them. After all, yoga translates to “union”, indicating a perfect harmony between mind and body and man and nature.
Was this serene transformation surprising? Not entirely, as anyone who has loved a cat or dog can attest to, the simple act of petting an animal can greatly elevate your mood and provide a sense of well-being. Why is this? Its been widely proven that the simple act of petting an animal releases an automatic relaxation response and the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. These “feel good” hormones play a direct part in elevating your moods and causing a Zen-state. Given the powerful benefits of animal-assisted therapy, we decided to hold class for friends who were on the spectrum or in recovery and with the peaceful outcome being so palpable, in 2017 we decided to branch out so that the general public could feel the healing power of yoga and animals.
Yoga, of course has also been proven to lower blood pressure, encourage proper breathing and remind you to be more mindful in the moment. But this program offers you the best of both worlds. Its not rocket-science, but it is science and its a lot of fun.