By Isabella Futchi
Downward-facing dogs and galloping goats were expected when Youngstown State University students gathered for a goat yoga class Sept. 5.
The sun was shining, the grass was tall and green and there was a sense of excitement in the air outside Andrews Student Recreation Center.
Delaney Zimmerman, freshman exercise science major, said she enjoyed the class because it mixed her two favorite things: goats and exercise.
“I really like getting involved through the rec center and I have goats at home, so it was just a nice combination of a little bit of home and getting what I like to do, which is exercise,” she said.
The class was held in the front courtyard, where a metal fence encompassed the class space.
Students brought many colorful mats or mats were provided to them.
When the goats were let loose, the students’ eyes lit up with enjoyment and a little hesitation as the goats descended upon them.
Students were given popcorn to lure the goats while the class went through the instructed yoga poses.
Another student, Sharismar Mendez, freshman criminal justice major, said she was new to yoga and was attracted to the event by the addition of goats.
“I have never really done yoga, so I was like what better way than to do some yoga with some goats,” she said.
This unique experience gave the students the opportunity to practice their mindfulness while goats frolicked around them.
Jessica Grow, sophomore integrated social sciences major, said she is excited for the many events that the recreation center hosts, but this one captured her interest with the introduction of goats.
“I loved puppy palooza, and I almost cried at Llamageddon when I got to hug the llamas, so why not goats too?” she said. “Honestly, I am really hoping that a goat just comes up to me and I hug it.”
Melissa Kerr, head yoga instructor and physical therapist, explained what goat yoga is and how it can help students manage stress and lead a healthy lifestyle.
“Goat yoga is when we bring in the use of animals into the realm of the practice or lifestyle of yoga,” she said. “We are taught to think and move with awareness, and this helps combat the built-up effects from stress.”
Kerr said she was first introduced to goat yoga when she was pursuing her doctorate in evidence-based findings of yoga in relation to physical therapy and health care.
She said she met a physician who was interested in agriculture, and she was introduced to the goats through the physician’s nonprofit. Her research into goat yoga “evolved from there.”
This event attracted a large number of attendees, and many people stopped to watch the class.
To see the full video of this event, see Brandon Brown’s coverage on Jambar TV.