Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Could goat yoga be coming to Wilmington? Dust your mat off because the odds are in your favor! From the looks of it two of the female goats at Russell’s Reach may indeed be pregnant. Russell’s Reach is home of the Coastal Therapeutic Riding Program (CTRP). I had the pleasure of interviewing the Executive Director of the gorgeous and well-kept ranch, Kim Niggel.
My friend Joe and I were there gathering information for an article I am currently writing on the wide range of mental health benefits that therapy horses have to offer. Thankfully Kim was able to squeeze this interview in, as each week is equally just as busy there at the ranch. Especially now with Netflix filming for a new series called ‘Echo’. Pretty neat right? The horses are stars! Hopefully it won’t go to their heads, they’re already so big! Pun intended.
As she gave me the grand tour of her property, I soon realized she has far more than horses! Russell’s Reach is home to goats, sheep, pigs, a miniature donkeys, cats, koi fish, and therapy horses. Kim believes two of the female goats may be pregnant! She expressed interest in holding therapeutic goat yoga sessions once the babies arrive, assuming that the females are indeed pregnant. Completely overjoyed, I encouraged her, “Yes! A million times yes! I am so in,” smiling ear to ear. This is something i’ve always wanted to try! From the looks of their bellies, I would say the probability is extremely likely.
I believe that anything we as humans can do to become closer to animals and nature should be prioritized, as a form of self care. Taking care of your mental health is equally just as important as taking care of your physical health, if not more important. Being one of the first to know about these future-yoga-guru-goat-babies, began to spark my curiosity. What could the benefits of goat yoga possibly be in terms of mental, physical, and emotional health? Let’s take a look.
You Will Become More Focused and Self Disciplined
Our minds are constantly flowing from one thought to the next. I attended a rather interesting seminar about the human brain, and electromagnetic wavelength at a CBD conference in Vegas a few years back. I distinctly remember learning that the human brain on average has between thirty and ninety thousand thoughts in a single day. Yes, single meaning one. One single day! Whether conscious or subconscious.
This was stimulating, but certainly not surprising. I will never forget learning this, because I remember cracking a joke to my best friend Sophia, who was sitting next to me in the seminar, “Yeah, I have about one hundred thousand on a daily basis”. We both giggled to ourselves in the back of the room. Either it was truly funny in the moment, or all of the oxygen they’re pumping into the hotels and casinos had gone to our heads!
If you are like me, and need to turn that overactive brain off- then goat yoga will be right up your alley. I mean how could you possibly focus on anything other than their endearingly lovable little faces? Being present in every moment life has to offer, especially the unique moments like this one is just so vital to our time here on Earth. Believe me, I know it’s hard not to be pulled in a million different directions these days, with accessibility to pretty much anything at our finger tips.
There’s no way to tell beforehand what the goats will do, or where they will pop up. This will keep you in tune and focused. You will also feel a sense of discipline when it comes to not letting you mind roam. Your experience will be delightful regardless, but will depend heavily on being focused on the present moment. After all, mindfulness and concentration are what yoga is all about!
Goat Yoga Helps Fight Depression
We’ve all experienced feelings of depression, or being in a constant state of depression at least once in our lives, right? Maybe you’re still in that frame of mind, and can’t seem to find purpose or structure. If this is you, just know that my heart goes out to you. I have prayed over this article, and my intention is that my words bring an abundance of peace and possibility to you while reading.
Maybe you’re someone that is thinking, “I’ve literally never experienced depression in my entire life.” or, “Yes, maybe i’ve been sad, but certainly never depressed!”. Kudos to you. No, I mean really! Especially during a pandemic. Maybe I should be reading something from you! Some of my deepest darkest battles have been with depression. Especially after the passing of my Father to suicide, only a few months prior to the global shutdowns.
I do believe that part of my healing (as Ed Mylett says best) is helping others find unique ways heal. This is why I truly loved reading that goat yoga helps in combating depression! After all, animals are phenomenal emotional healers, proving us support through stability and laughter.
Being around animals in general has a calming, therapeutic effect. Connecting physically and emotionally with the baby goats will stimulate a relaxation response in your brain. How could you not smile with a goat lingering on your mat, looking up at you while you’re in the downward dog position? I mean, come on!
When the goats choose to approach you individually this will make you feel special, in turn releasing endorphins like dopamine and serotonin! Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness, while Serotonin is linked to reducing stress. Imagine having a soul connection with such a preciously innocent animal. Laughter also reverses the stress response with lower levels of cortisol. Who doesn’t love to laugh?
You Will Become Stronger
Not only will you become emotionally stronger with goat yoga, but physically stronger as well! You will exert far more energy trying to do a single pose with a goat riding your back than doing the pose normally, without the goats company. Doesn’t it sound so fun already? Maybe goats think that us humans are their magic carpets, and i’m certainly not opposed to this idea.
Working out harder is also much more gratifying when you don’t realize you're doing it. That is because you’re having fun! If running were fun, a lot more people would be doing it. Not that it can’t be fun. There are certainly ways to make it more pleasurable, but goat yoga I would assume is naturally fun. Even the name sounds like a blast! Not only will your strength improve, but your endurance and cardio capacity as well.
Studies reveal that laughing during yoga boosts endorphins, which are your feel-good brain chemicals. This endorphin release can also lower physical pain, in turn making you feel stronger immediately! The goats will help you to maintain balance. Consistently training will help you to lose weight and form strength.
Life is too short for boring anything, honestly. So you’re not into yoga, but are you into becoming mentally and physically stronger? That’s hot, if you ask me. I do believe their are ways to add excitement into so many different activities, and if yoga has never been for you maybe try adding goats to the equation!
Are you sold yet? I know I am! Between the many profound benefits I have listed, and the ones I have personally read- I am ready to sign up ASAP. Who’s coming with me? If you’re not in Wilmington, NC or surrounding areas I suggest finding goat yoga classes near you! If you are local, make sure you follow Russell’s Reach on Facebook to stay up to date with everything they are hosting. You can view their website below as well. Also make sure you subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel, to be one of the first to know once my article and video on their therapy horses is published. Go get your goat on girls and guys!
Top 12 Unexpected Health Benefits Goat Yoga,
https://altinify.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-goat-yoga/, Altinify, December 22, 2020
Dopamine vs. serotonin: Similarities, differences, and relationship, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326090, Medical News Today, November 11, 2021