Video by Meredith Aldis | Broadcast Reporter, Story by Molly Atchison | Print Managing Editor
Variations of yoga have become incredibly popular in recent years, and one exceptionally unconventional variation has taken center stage: goat yoga.
From 9 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, students showed up at the SUB bowl to work on their zen and play with goats as part of Baylor’s 2018 Diadeloso festivities. In 2017, goat yoga sold out nearly 400 spots before Dia began, and this attraction isn’t just popular among college students, it’s practiced in cities all over the country.
Goat yoga, a generic yoga class which features goats hopping on people’s backs, was initially founded by Lainey Morse in Oregon. According to Morse’s website, goat yoga is “really about disconnecting with day-to-day stress, sickness or depression and focusing on positive and happy vibes.”
Atalie Wu, Baylor Chamber of Commerce member and yoga instructor at the Yoga Bar, said she thinks goat yoga has therapeutic benefits. “Everyone loves the goats, so obviously it is bringing some type of love and care from the heart,” Wu said.
Wu helped coordinate the event last year and instructed the yoga practice this year. Standing in the Bill Daniels Student Center’s SUB Bowl, Wu directed four classes of 100 students and staff through basic stretching techniques, attempting to keep the focus on her while barn animals trotted between participant’s legs.
“It is a very different experience than teaching normal yoga because there are a lot of distractions, and it is very exciting being around animals,” Wu said.
“Upward goat on a downward dog” is a common pose in goat yoga, in which the yoga practitioner goes into a downward dog pose, and the goats instinctively hop on their backs.
After finishing the 5K fun run with her husband, Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone stopped by to see what goat yoga was all about.
“I have not ever seen goat yoga. It is quite an experience,” Livingstone said.
While many students followed Wu, others took a break from their poses to cuddle with baby goats. The goats, who were grazing for most of the session, were given plenty of treats by staff and Baylor students alike, but the physical attention was most of their reward, and the student’s as well.
“I did not do a lot of yoga,” freshman Andrea Ramirez said. “I did a lot of looking at goats and petting goats ,which I think is fine. That’s why I’m here.”
However, there were several volunteers that also assisted in the process, ensuring that students got good Instagram photos by directing the animals to the center of the area, and even sometimes putting them on people’s backs while they were in the pose.
Ewe Pet Petting Zoo provided the livestock for Dia’s goat yoga event, bringing about fifty goats and twenty sheep. This was more than the number of animals featured at last year’s event. Additionally, students in the second section were able to bottle feed three of the baby goats, and plenty of goats and sheep were available for students to pet as well.
“I just loved how playful the goats were, and how curious they were,” freshman Anna Wicker said.
Whether next year’s Dia includes goats or not, the experience of practicing child’s pose with a goat climbing around is certainly unique for Baylor students, and is just one of the many activities offered to students this Diadeloso.