Happy International Yoga Day! To celebrate the holiday, we’re revisiting a story from our 2017 issue when Goat Yoga first took the Beehive state by storm. Luckily, Goga is still going strong and regularly takes place across Utah.
Confession: when we first heard about goat yoga, we couldn’t help but scoff. People will make a fitness fad out of anything these days, won’t they? Still, we signed up for a class offered by the Goga Guys, expecting to get little more than fodder for jokes from the experience.
And we loved it. We can’t believe we’re actually printing these words, but there it is: We love goat yoga.
The adorable concept, in which yogis cycle through asanas while tiny goats scamper about, has gained a robust following from the most unlikely of followers: people who absolutely hate yoga. The mind-changing power of goat yoga, or Goga, is a surprise to many new converts, but not to local founders Derek Westover and Benson Richardson.
“It’s hard not to be happy around them,” says Richardson, who, like Westover, grew up with goats on his family farm. “They can make anything fun.”
Anything, including the typically staid practice of yoga. Instead of bored yawns and furtive glances at the clock, Goga is filled with giggles. In any given pose, one goat may be climbing the back of one participant while another curls up for a nap on the corner of someone’s yoga mat. Still other goats jump through the rows of warrior poses and playfully headbutt each other mid-air. It’s so endearing, it’s distracting—you simply forget you are doing mind-numbing yoga.
Though most come for the entertainment value and epic selfies (participants are given 20 minutes after class to pose with the goats), Westover says they’re still gaining all the health and happiness of a traditional yoga class.
“Yoga has so many proven benefits for physical and mental health; so does animal therapy,” says Westover. “Why not get both?”
Goga classes meet in various locations around Salt Lake, Utah County and Midway. Their running class at Gateway occurs on Tuesdays. Admission is $25, and all ages and skill levels are welcome. The goats are also available for private sessions, corporate team-building, bridal showers, and family reunions. For more information, visit GOGA LLC on Facebook or @gogaguys on Instagram.
See more stories like this and all of our culture and community coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah.