Goat Yoga. Bunny Yoga. Cat Yoga.
The news headlines have been recently saturated with stories of yoga with different types of animals. So what are the benefits of doing yoga with animals?
Animals are often seen as companions. They can provide calm when we are stressed and provide comfort when we are lonely or sad. In a yoga class, animals can provide a sense of comfort and distraction. Many people feel overwhelmed or intimidated when in a yoga studio class. Looking around, it’s almost natural to compare ourselves to others in the class. With the addition of animals, one can be distracted from those feelings by focusing on the animals.
Distraction can also be a negative side-effect of doing yoga with animals. The main purpose of yoga is to bring yourself into the present moment, to focus on the sensations of the body and the feelings within. Having animals roaming around the studio (or farm) can take away from that “being present” mindset. It can also distract you from focusing on your breath or on specific poses in the asana practice.
Either way, yoga with animals in on the incline. Studios across the country are beginning to offer classes with “social” animals and the reviews are more positive than negative. Maybe yoga with animals helps increase awareness, as you are having to focus on your yoga practice and try not to be distracted by the cute, fluffy bunnies. Maybe it’ll help to focus on the sounds and smells of the farm while the goats are chewing on their grass. Ultimately, yoga is what YOU make it, so give yoga with animals a go! Who knows, it may be the purrrrrrfect practice for you.