Why Goats/Why Goat Yoga?

Why Goats/Why Goat Yoga? 

We are asked this question constantly. Why goat yoga and why goats for AAT/AAA?

Straight from the Handbook for Animal-Assisted Activities and Animal-Assisted Therapy, published by the Delta Society (now Pet Partners) in 1992: "AAT is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. AAT is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise, and within the scope of practice of his/her profession. AAT is designed to promote the improvement in human physical, social , emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. AAT is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature. This process is documented and evaluated.”

What does that mean? Bringing our therapy animals into therapeutic sessions allows clients, children, teens as well as adults to explore and engage in relationship in the present moment. AAT therapy focuses on the experiential moment within relationships as it is only possible to truly know ourselves as we exist in relation to other things.

I know what you’re thinking, “But, Why Goat Yoga?” 

An important aspect of AAT is the healing power of touch and to be touched, goats in particular seek touch and like to touch also.  The soothing impact of petting or grooming creates a lasting experience for the client and helps foster healing from the pain of grief and loss and reduces stress. AAT is an “out of the box” approach to therapy, usually tried in conjunction with traditional therapy. The added cognitive benefit is that goats are naturally small, friendly and playful creatures. Their personalities bring a play aspect to therapy for our clients. Allowing them to be in the present moment by laughing and playing with our therapy goats you are forming a relationship with this animal in a light hearted and joyful manner. You have also participated mindfulness and in vulnerability by trying something new that is not common in your social groups. All of these provide a benefit to step away our busy lives and step into a less intimidating form of natural healing. However, it is important to note that our public Goat Yoga classes are Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) meaning there is no therapist present. 

At WWP, the animal-assisted therapy approach provides opportunities for clients to engage in relationships where the animals offers an insight to the quality and nature of contact and the animals provide much needed feedback to our clients actions, behavior, energy and language, both verbal and non-verbal. The process of relating to a therapy animal brings about natural integration of the mind and body, thought and feeling, spontaneity and deliberateness. It deepens the client’s awareness of contact styles and choices and responsibilities within relationships. Intimate moments emerge through non-verbal exchanges, this communication between client-therapist-animal is where real change and healing can happen.

Nicole Juels