Yoga for people...and goats

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Yoga for people...and goats

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Megan Kibby and friend will be teaching Goat Yoga to yogis and goat fanciers who don’t mind practicing their morning asanas accompanied by the pitter-pat of little hooves. Photo: courtesy Red Wagon Goats

Yoga is all about tranquility, peace and serenity. Goat Yoga is about all the above, plus having goats jump on your back.

Goats really enjoy jumping on top of people. Especially when people are in the plank, the crow or the downward dog.

Why, you might ask, would you do yoga in a place where animals will be jumping up and down on top of you?

Because, first of all, goats.

They are very cute, especially baby goats. “They only weigh about 30 pounds,” said Megan Kibby, 32, of Decatur. Nor do they have horns or particularly sharp hooves, “so it’s not a big deal.”

Kibby said goat yoga is “not necessarily relaxing: It is more joyful and playful and cathartic.”

It is also popular, at least online. Goat yoga videos from New Hampshire and Oregon show happy men and women stretching, and happy goats romping around them and, occasionally, jumping on top of them.

“People are desperate for something that is pure and peaceful. They are like, yes, give me some goats,” said Lainey Morse of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, in one video. “It’s really hard to be in pain and sad when there’s baby goats jumping around you.”

Goat Yoga in Oregon:

Kibby, who is a certified yoga instructor and also the co-owner of a small herd of goats, doesn’t pretend to have come up with the idea for the animal-assisted exercise. “I cannot claim to be the inventor of goat yoga, but I may be the first in Georgia,” she said.

Red Wagon Goats began with the sire of the herd, Sir Robert “Bobby” McGee, who, as a youngster, didn’t like taking walks. Goat wrangler Jason Lewis solved that problem by pulling Bobby around in the titular wagon. Photo: courtesy Red Wagon Goats. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Friends who take her classes at Metropolitan Studios in East Atlanta Village made a point of tagging her in the goat yoga videos, and finally she got the hint.

The goat yoga classes (for which there is a three-month waiting list) will begin May 6. Besides generating fun, they will serve an additional purpose: to raise cash for a new goat-centered landscaping business.

By this winter Red Wagon Goats will grow its six-goat herd to about 30 animals, Kibby said, and will begin using them to clear ivy, kudzu and other pest plants from the backyards of customers.

Kibby and her partner Jason Lewis believe that using goats rather than chemicals to clear weeds will lead to a healthier landscape. Herbicides, she said, can leach into the soil, into groundwater and vegetable gardens, and can kill off bees and other helpful insects. She’d like to see more families use the ecologically sound approach of setting out a herd of hungry, horned animals to attack those clinging vines.

“We think we’ll be doing the community a lot of good,” said Kibby, speaking for herself and for Bobby McGee, Emmylou, Sheeba, Tassili, Harley and Boeing.

Kibby and Lewis and company are not quite ready to deploy. They need more goats, portable electric fencing, a livestock trailer and some other gear, which they are using crowdfunding to underwrite. But they have high hopes. “We are passionate about getting Metro Atlanta OFF chemicals and on goats,” they write on their Indiegogo web page.

That page, or the group’s Facebook page, are probably the best ways to get in touch with Red Wagon Goats.

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