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Don’t worry, they’ve Goat Your Back

June 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

Yoga with goats? Why not!

Goat Your Back Yoga, located at 1797 10th Sideroad in Tottenham, is owned by long time friends Tabitha Carloni and Nicole Vrantsidis, who are combining yoga with animal therapy and while you might think, “You’ve ‘goat to be kidding me!,’ the results are incredible.

The Goat Your Back farm was originally purchased to accommodate another business which had nothing to do with farming – or goats, or yoga with goats.

“We have always had chickens but never goats,” said Tabitha. “We always wanted them but never had the time and could not commit. Now that we are finished school and are comfortable with our day jobs, we have been able to fit their care and wellbeing into our schedules and make it a priority. The idea came to us through an Instagram post and we saw an opportunity. We already had a small barn for the goats and the land to accommodate classes. Last August we purchased our starter herd and became certified yoga instructors in November.”

So, you might wonder what one can expect, practising yoga with goats – how serious can it be?

“We try and stick to the practice as best we can but since there are a lot of (good) distractions, sometimes we find it difficult to instruct over the laughing!” said Nicole. “The goats are very involved and seem to really love doing it. Depending on their personalities, some goats will walk around and wait for treats, some will take over your yoga mat and cuddle, while others will crawl and jump all over you.”

But don’t worry, the goats that participate in goat yoga only weigh between 7 to 35 pounds. 

“We have five-week-old babies and our eldest is just over a year old,” said Tabitha. “We do have some larger goats but we keep them out of the action for safety reasons.”

Haven’t “herd” of goat yoga yet? Well, get ready, it’s catching on.

“We cannot take credit for coming up with the idea, that’s for sure. Goat Yoga was started by a woman in Oregon and has been raging in the western United States ever since. It is really popular in California and US states with warmer weather. We think it became so popular because goats are really amazing animals. Their happiness and vibes really radiate to everyone around them. It is also an activity that anyone can participate in as it encompasses very basic yoga and movement. The goats’ presence is definitely therapeutic and when you mix that with the benefits and relaxation of yoga it is a really appealing activity.”

Thankfully, the classes haven’t gone entirely to the animals, and instructors Tabitha and Nicole are still leading the pack.

“We took dance classes together almost our whole childhood and have been friends ever since,” said Nicole. “Yoga was kind of second nature to us since we were able to incorporate a lot of our lessons from dance into our yoga practice. We both have done yoga for about five years as students and then completed our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in November. We now enjoy practicing yoga in our free time, but also get to teach the wonderful practice of goat yoga! We teach goat yoga because it brings so much joy and happiness to people. Sometimes we need a break from that everyday life hustle and bustle, and goat yoga is 100 per cent that happy distraction!” 

Goat yoga sessions combine Hatha and Vinyasa styles of yoga. 

“The practice is almost a hybrid as we like to hold poses that are accessible for the goats to jump on, but also like to flow a little bit to focus on breathing and get that yoga feel. We avoid all positions where we would lay on our backs to protect our faces,” said Tabitha.

So, is goat yoga a ‘one time experience’ or do people benefit from multiple visits…

“We have had multiple participants come back for more, but there has not been any requests for us to implement any packages. If this was something people were interested in, we would definitely provide it,” said Nicole.

And at Goat Your Back there’s something for everyone – from girls’ day out, to the serious yogi.

“It is what people make it. If you want to focus on the practice and actually put in the effort, you will get the benefits of yoga such as stretching and strengthening. If you come out of every pose to take pictures and laugh, then that is totally up to you! We want everyone to have fun and take away whatever they need from the practice – whether it’s yoga, animal therapy, or a mix of both. It’s hard work holding Downward Dog with a 30 pound goat on your back!” said Tabitha. 

Goat Your Back has taught seven public goat yoga sessions and a handful of private parties, totaling close to 100 participants.

“All our feedback has been positive; that they loved it and had a great time! Some are grossed out by the rabbit-like poops and accidents, but it has to be expected. Our private events are for everyone,” said Nicole. “We have entertained toddlers as well as seniors with our services. We have hosted cooperate team building sessions, child birthday parties and bachelorette parties. We don’t only offer goat yoga, for those interested in only cuddling and feeding the goats we provide that as well. We can also bring the goats to you.” 

For more information visit www.goatyourback.ca, ‘Like’ Goat Your Back on Facebook, and Follow them on Instagram @goatyourback



         


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