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Goat yoga – The Etownian

Elizabethtown College values and prioritizes physical and mental health for all its students, providing upbeat exercise classes at the Bowers Center, access to counseling and a source of good coffee at our beloved Blue Bean.

Yoga is well known for allowing meditation and relaxation of the mind, body and soul. Despite this, there is one crucial factor missing— goats!

This recent campus activity took the crown for providing healing services to students. Picture a sunny afternoon in a grassy field, a warm breeze blowing, students enjoying the calming practice of yoga and little baby goats running around your feet. As if this isn’t enough, put them into jumpers, pink overalls and baby t-shirts and you enter a cuteness coma.

Thanks to the College, Buttinhead Farms and their goats, students were able to attend the goat yoga event, free of charge. Yoga was led by instructor Ashley Raspen. I thoroughly enjoyed Raspen’s focus on partner yoga, where each participant paired up with their friend or neighbor and shared their gratitude towards each other.

Most goats were less than a few months old, and one was just born the morning of the event.The youngest goat had not yet set foot on the grass by himself, not quite able to walk on his own. He took his first unsteady steps on Brinser field, and soon he will be doing yoga and jumping onto peoples’ backs all on his own.

Students who attended entered an area enclosed by a fence to place their mats down. Soon after, about 15 goats were released, able to freely run around, snack on tasty grass and nestle into students’ laps.

Because of the goats’ young ages, they were considered more inexperienced with yoga practices than they would have been at an older age. Helpers were actively teaching new goat “trainees” how to participate in yoga by assisting them up onto peoples’ backs in various poses. Once they are older and big enough, they will learn how to do this on their own. The youngest of the goats were still learning how to walk properly, most of them needing to be bottle-fed halfway through!

Immediately following goat yoga was goat therapy, which consisted of playing and cuddling with the friendliest goats. Several of the goats became quite sleepy following the yoga session, so obviously, they took long naps in students’ warm laps to soak up the sun. My favorite of all the goats was named Eclipse, as he had just been born during the recent solar eclipse only a few days before. He fought to stay awake during yoga, immediately falling into a deep slumber in my lap in the sun right after.

If you are looking for a uniquely healing experience to connect with peers and animals, I highly recommend trying out goat yoga.

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