Yoga promotes flexibility, is a great way to unwind, and suits people of all ages and fitness levels.
So it’s no surprise a new yoga practice in the US has got our attention – "Goat Yoga".
Originating from the pastured fields of No Regrets Farm in Albany, Oregon, Goat Yoga involves performing poses outdoors in a wide green paddock as goats frolic amongst the mats and stretched limbs.
"The goats are very friendly, socialised animals and they're calming and loving. They often lay down on the mat and just want to be pet. It's a good distraction," Lainey Morse, owner and resident of No Regrets Farm, tells SBS.
Morse's farm has been offering these Goat Yoga classes for the past month. She doesn't instruct the classes, but offers the goats and venue for yoga instructors to set up shop.
The whole project started by chance when she auctioned off a kids birthday party on her farm with goats wandering about as per usual.
"One of the parents, who happened to be a yoga instructor suggested that the field would be the perfect spot for a yoga class," Morse says. "She brought the yoga and I brought the goats and that's how Goat Yoga began.
Her first session was a massive hit, she says, and since then she's been flooded with requests for more classes from yoga-enthusiasts around the globe.
"I have people on the waiting list from all over the world - from London, Italy, Alaska. They don't care where I'm located, they just want to experience Goat Yoga," she says.
Morse told Huffington Post how one woman who attended Goat Yoga, a cancer patient, found the experience so moving she was overcome with emotion.
“She said she cried through the entire class because it was so healing and just an amazing experience,” Morse says. “She felt better when she left and went to her doctor and told him how beneficial it was for her. She hopes to bring other cancer patients out to let them feel the experience as well.”
The classes are technically free for now, but a $10 donation is encouraged of patrons. Given the high international demand of the program, that price looks to change.
Of course, working with goats can be a challenge, Morse says. These goats, like most farm animals, aren’t potty trained. But Morse doesn’t see this as much of a problem since goat droppings are “just in little pellets”.
For now, Goat Yoga classes only will only take place during the spring season. However, Morse is on the lookout for a larger property with an outdoor covering, where she can provide her unique yoga service year-round.
"I hope to have Goat Yoga Retreats where people will come from all over the World to participate," she says.