JOIN US FOR GOAT YOGA AT SMITHTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SCHEDULE AT www.eventbrite.com
**The Buddha Barn does not plan this event. If you have any questions regarding policies, cancelations due to weather or ticket info, please contact https://smithtownhistorical.org/ **
Teaching goat yoga has been such an amazing experience! We have hundreds of people on the waiting list and we were featured on News 12 Long Island, Mindful Studio Mag and Arts & Entertainment! Interacting with these beautiful animals, getting out in the fresh air and making new yogi friends is what yoga is all about.
I recently read a comment on News 12’s piece on goat yoga. There was a comment that said something like - goat yoga isn’t “real” yoga, because it doesn’t follow the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Give me a fucking break. Most people have no clue what that even means. I hear fellow “yogis” snickering and rolling their eyes, as they eat their egg sandwiches layered with bacon, or benefit from other forms of trendy yoga, most of which borders on cultural appropriation. I don't see goat yoga in that light. I would rather be teaching in a gorgeous field with loving animals, knowing that I have an opportunity to make a difference. And it's curiosity and a silly outlook that keeps us young at heart.
My experience teaching goat yoga has been profoundly beautiful. I spend my time outside, in the fresh air. Time I would not have taken out of my busy day if I didn’t have to, even though the intention is always there. I interact with affectionate, loving and friendly animals. Most of them were rescued from slaughter houses and neglectful owners. I meet new people. I learn how to teach outside my studio, for large groups that are completely distracted. I hold space and sequence each session for beginners to advanced practitioners, newbies, people with physical limitations and people of all ages.
I pride myself on being a responsible teacher and I always sprinkle the beautiful lineage and philosophy of yoga in all of my sessions. Students experience prayer, meditation, pranayama, asana and savasana. I touch upon the 8 Limbs, Sutras and anything that inspires me to pass it on, and pay it forward. The goats are a bonus.
Some come out for the sole purpose of taking selfies with goats. We’re all on social media, so the hypocrisy annoys the shit out of me. I see "yogis" on social media every day, half naked, posing in unrealistic places. Whatever floats your boat, but I'd much rather take a pic with an innocent goat, that I know was given a second chance at life. It has changed me as a human being. I wasn't a big meat eater, but I am now a proud vegan. I wish my eyes were open sooner. But I will spend the rest of my life as an animal rights activist, not just a pet lover.
With that being said, many practitioners leave with a heightened awareness regarding animals in need. If just one person decides to reduce their meat consumption, then I've done my job. Many thank me at the end of each session and tell me they’d like to try a regular yoga class. Many of them come with a friends or relatives. I witness how much fun they have on warm summer nights and it warms my heart.
Is goat yoga a trendy fad? Absolutely. But it’s also about connection, which in my opinion, is what yoga is all about. It’s not supposed to be that serious. It’s about breathing, moving, nature, awareness and love. Most people probably come because they saw goat yoga on the Kardashians, but they leave learning about Ahimsa; the principle of non-violence toward all living things...without even knowing it, and who cares. They learned. Many students notice that goats know their name. They like to cuddle and play. They have unique personalities, just like a dog or a cat.
I got to know and hang out with Karen Bayha from Steppin' Out Ponies and Petting Zoo. If I was a yoga snob and I turned my nose up to goat yoga, I would not have met her. She is living her dream. She owns a farm and works her ass off every day to keep that dream alive. Most of her animals are rescues. She treats every one of them like her children. I doubt she knows anything about The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but she lives an authentic life. I am honored to call her my friend. I am so grateful for the experience, as an animal activist, a yogi and a human being.
Did you know that goats love to snack on Christmas trees? Yup! I had the best day delivering a bunch to my dear friend Karen at her farm. Most of her animals are rescues. Join us in April for the new season of Goat Yoga at Smithtown Historical Society, Smithtown, NY. xo Kelly