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Animals are increasing wellness in goat yoga

Goat Yoga. Where the therapeutic capabilities of WindReach’s Petting Zoo meet the widely recognised wellness outcomes through yoga.

What may have once seemed like a fleeting trend is here to stay, and just down the street, at WindReach. Goat Yoga, originally founded in Oregon, USA, is an activity that sits within their programmes as an inclusive therapeutic and recreational experience. The activity has proven positive outcomes with classes that are adapted for individuals of all ages and abilities. The only prerequisite to the class is that you bring an open mind.

The name itself elicits a chuckle so go on, poke fun all you like! However, when you look closer at the benefits of therapeutic animal interaction and the yoga movement component, laughter and fun are what a goat yoga class is all about. Enjoyment in the moment is probably the biggest side effect of the class, but others also report improved flexibility and strength, a reduction in anxiety and depression, improved blood pressure, a decrease in stress and improvement with overall wellness. Goats are naturally curious, cuddly and social animals. They are the perfect complement to an outdoor yoga class that, when combined together, will guarantee to lift your mood and have you present in the moment to enjoy a positive mind-body connection.

Goat yoga isn’t for everybody, but like any form of exercise, what is? One of the main appeals of Goat Yoga is that it is an inclusive activity that allows us to celebrate all abilities.

Their herd of Nigerian Pigmy Goats play a therapeutic role as they naturally support participants to relax, enjoy their surroundings, movement and meditation.

Although the outcomes will vary from person to person, the majority of those who attend, report desirable changes in their ability to achieve balance in everyday living.

Experiencing the outdoors at WindReach, away from the usual hustle and bustle of an overflowing schedule, with animal therapy and physical movement can improve mental health, especially those living with invisible disabilities (for example, depression, anxiety, learning differences, autism, or PTSD).

How many times are we reminded “you can’t pour from an empty cup; take care of yourself first”?  For a brief passing moment, this statement resonates in us all. Then we blink and swiftly re-connect to the driven daily rat race that has us all believing stress and exhaustion is the norm. Goat yoga is a unique experience that allows us to fill our cup so we can live each day to the fullest and set our mental health compass to overall wellness.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 edition of RG Magazine.

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