Upward Goat

Yoga’s newest trend isn’t about heat or flow but rather some furry, four-legged animals.

  • Category
    Health
  • Written by
    Heather David
  • Photographed by
    Michelle Tritten

Having a set of four hooves suddenly jump on your back when you’re on a yoga mat may intimidate some, but Michelle Tritten insists that it’s a great way to deepen a stretch, increase strength and improve balance.

“People who have never tried yoga, come for the goats. Seasoned yogis come for the challenge, because holding balancing postures with a goat is quite impressive,” says the Burbank native.

Michelle runs an hour-long class, “Hello Critter Goat Yoga,” that utilizes miniature-sized Nigerian goats. Sometimes they just roam around; other times they jump or lean on students. A goat owner since the ‘80s, Michelle had been running a pet care business. Then a year ago, a friend, yoga instructor Hope Urban, mentioned seeing a video of a goat yoga class in Oregon. She suggested the two team up and give it a whirl here in LA.

“The goats bring you into the present moment, which can be quite challenging while living a busy lifestyle. The genuine laughter and joy while getting fit with goats is really what brings folks back.”

“Hope offered to teach, and I brought my goats to our first class of 10 people on Earth Day 2017. It was a blissful experience. Two weeks later, we held our second class and 70 people showed up!” says Michelle.

Michelle has hosted private and public events throughout the city ever since, including regular bi-monthly “pop-up” classes in Burbank and Larchmont Village.

“It gets people outdoors and interacting with animals,” says Beverly O’Donohue, one of the Hello Critter yoga instructors. “With the goats there, it allows us to take yoga and life less seriously,” she adds.

 

 

And indeed, no matter how serious the yogi, there’s simply no way to keep a straight face when one of the natural born climbers turns a downward dog into an upward goat.

“They do what they want, when they want, including jumping on backs and crawling between legs. People often say that when a goat jumps on them, it feels really good, like an adjustment or a massage,” says Michelle.

If you’re asking yourself “What’s the point?” you may just be thinking too hard.

“The goats bring you into the present moment, which can be quite challenging while living a busy lifestyle. The genuine laughter and joy while getting fit with goats is really what brings folks back.”


For more, go to @hellocrittergoatyoga on Facebook and @hellocrittercare on Instagram

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