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Combating Stress With the Latest Exercise Craze: Goat Yoga

Goat yoga is the latest exercise craze: It works your funny bone as much as any other body part. Add in a free beer and an Instagram-worthy pic—who could ask for more?

By: Donna Lugo

In an age when activities are often judged by their potential to yield the highest number of likes, one can feel weary of every new trend that crops up. However, in the case of goat yoga, you may find yourself so distracted by cuteness and laughter that you’ll forget your phone altogether. Goat yoga is pretty much what it sounds like: Participants follow along to a yoga instructor as they inadvertently become a human jungle gym for small goats to jump on and crawl through as they pose. Thanks to a collaboration between Golden Road Brewing Los Angeles and Hello Critter, a goat yoga business founded by Burbank native Michelle Tritten, this unique experience is more accessible than ever.

Jean-Luc Cavnar-Lewandowski, the assistant special events coordinator for Golden Road, approached Hello Critter with the idea to bring goat yoga to the pub’s “lawn,” a small indoor space with Astroturf and the lingering yet alluring odor of pub food. A $30 ticket will get you one hour of hatha yoga led by a certified instructor (with a seemingly endless arsenal of goat puns at the ready), a free beer inside the brewery after the class, and a meet-and-greet with the goats photographed by Hello Critter staff.

“Both my boss and I went to college in Colorado where the trend is said to have started, and we thought it was an interesting idea,” Cavnar-Lewandowski says. “I personally really like animals and the idea of being able to interact with animals that you usually wouldn’t get to be around.” Apparently Angelenos think it’s an interesting idea, too. Every class has sold out since the series began back in March of this year.

The yogi-to-goat ratio is rather small (around 15 to 20 participants per session), so plenty of face time with a goat is ensured. Tritten coaxes the goats around the class with a saucer of carrot and banana chips. It’s at this point when you’ll likely find yourself in a fit of giggles, as either you or the person next to you is surprised by the gentle nudge of a goat head grazing your belly while in downward-facing dog, or some baby sock-cushioned hooves lay claim to your back as you try to hold child’s pose. And while the goats do have the occasional “accident,” be it their tiny “black bean” pellets or what Tritten refers to as “holy water,” Tritten is there to spring into action with a broom, dustpan, and disinfectant, cleaning the scene in seconds. She also notes that goats are vegetarians, so their “deposits” are virtually free of any unpleasant odor.

Tritten, who has kept goats and horses since childhood, relishes the opportunity to share the playful silliness of the critters with others. Class favorites such as Nigerian Dwarf goat Billy and his comely cousin, Burlap, are happy to oblige.

“What I enjoy most about the classes is the people who come to participate because they have a great sense of humor, they’re animal lovers, they’re very tolerant,” Tritten says. “It’s such an honor to be in the presence of people who are having such a good time. I never experienced that until goat yoga, where I’m constantly around laughter and happy faces. It’s a dream come true.”

Golden Road Brewing Los Angeles, 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com/goat-yoga.

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