Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Goat Plans This Weekend?

If you're casting about for something to do this weekend, hoof it over to the small village of Fuveau for the launch of Yoga Chèvre in Provence. Bouyed by the success of a session they held near Nice earlier this month, the founders of Yoga Chèvre will host a second class at the same place at 6:30 pm on Friday...and then, on Sunday, a 6:30 pm class at a peaceful toy goat breeding farm about 25 minutes from Aix. I kid you not!

Turns out that Goat Yoga has been a thing in the US for a while now (in January, CBS News called it "the latest craze") but from what I can tell this is the first time it's happening here in the South of France.

Credit for the trend goes to an Oregon woman named Lainey Morse, who realized, while struggling through an illness and a divorce, that she always felt better after hanging out with her goats. She began offering "goat therapy" to others through Goat Happy Hours, welcoming people to come cuddle her pets. It was at a "kids and kids" birthday party that one of the moms, a yoga instructor, convinced Lainey to add yoga to the mix. The concept grew so popular that Morse soon quit her marketing job to run The Original Goat Yoga full time.
A quick Google search turned up goat yoga across the US, in Canada, South Africa, Australia and beyond. Just before the holidays last year, Denver International Airport created a one-day goat-yoga room, “to surprise and delight our passengers, but also show the world that going to the airport can be unexpected, relaxing and fun,” according to the airport’s communications team. 
When a goat gave birth to twins during a goat yoga class in Georgia in May, the story made the New York Times. The Times also reports that goats are wildly popular on Instagram.

And now we all get to try it too. The founder of Yoga Chèvre is a Nice-born yogi now living in Los Angeles; she discovered it there and is extremely excited about bringing the idea back home. "This is a Hatha Yoga class, more focused on relaxation and meditation," she tells me. "So the benefit comes from the yoga but also from the goats, who definitely add joy and happiness. It's been proven, of course, that interaction with animals is very good for humans but especially interaction with goats, who are particularly playful."

"Goats seem to bring out the best in people," said one instructor online. "They make people feel good. They have no boundaries."

"Yoga is about breathing," said another aficionado. "Goat yoga is about laughing."

The classes in Castagniers (20 km from Nice) and Fuveau will both be taught by yoga instructor Melanie Lopez, a partner in the new venture.
In Castagniers (June 29 and July 22), there will be six goats, plus a sheep and a cat that love to join in the fun.
In Fuveau, you'll be joined on Sunday by 25 "very small, very rare and very friendly" toy goats. There's another class there on July 21st and then one every weekend in August and September. Sessions (priced at 30€ each) will continue throughout the year if there's interest. 

For more info and to reserve, see Yoga Chèvre on Facebook and at yogachevre.com.


Photos: (1-3) From the Yoga Chèvre website. (4-5) Goat Yoga is all over Instagram; these two are from @azgoatyoga and @thatssonif.

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