We love doing yoga (we’re from California after all!). But something told me that this yoga class wouldn’t be like our usual Vinyasa flow. Within minutes of starting, our instructor encouraged us to talk and laugh as much as we wanted. Also to take plenty of photos. Oh, one other thing — you might get peed on. Yep, just another day doing yoga with goats.
This past weekend, Kevin and I went to Tampa to see our family. We decided to take a day off from doing megaformer pilates at Mantra in South Tampa to try out something a little more unique. I mentioned yoga with goats to my sister and 13-year-old niece. I expected strange looks or at least an eye roll! But to my surprise, they not only said they’d do it, but enthusiastically agreed. Kevin, on the other hand, seemed a little more skeptical asking, “But why yoga with goats?” To which I responded, “Well, why not goats?”
Grady Goat Yoga is located just 20 minutes east of Tampa. You’ll feel like you almost left the state of Florida as you drive through the pastoral farmlands of Thonotosassa, Florida. Goats make great yoga companions. Not only are they cute, but they love jumping up on your back when you least expect it. It was definitely weird at first to have a goat on my back during downward dog. It was a feeling that varied anywhere from general discomfort to feeling awesome. I had a few knots in my back and it was like a pressure point massage.
I wouldn’t call it the toughest workout in my life. But then again, I was pretty distracted by all the barnyard antics. The goats will walk and lay down wherever they please. And as my niece found out, the yoga mats seemed like a pretty comfy spot for them to take a load off!
Be prepared to dress accordingly. We were glad that we actually read the tips emailed before class — advising you to avoid sleeveless shirts (to protect your skin against the hooves) and leaving all valuables and jewelry behind.
We also recommend wearing dark colors. Believe it or not, someone actually showed up to class in white pants. Let’s just say that’s a bad idea on so many levels… Classes begin promptly at 10 AM and run for 1 hour. But afterwards, you’ll have time to relax in Savasana (or take selfies!) with plenty of goats.
But how did the goat yoga craze get to Tampa? In short, it was all inspired by a goat named Grady, who was born on the ranch with multiple disabilities. Hat Trick Ranch co-owner Debbie Canton decided to launch the project in honor of Grady and raise money for local causes. Each ticket ($30 per person) supports children’s charities — and it’s the only goat yoga in the Tampa Bay (or possibly anywhere) where all profits support children facing adversity.
At first, only a few people knew about the class. But as word got out around Tampa, the classes got busier (now often selling out days in advance). The studio is even up for several awards for Best of the Bay by local entertainment newspaper Creative Loafing (including Best Yoga Studio and Best Place to Take a Selfie). But our favorite part? The big finale. As we were about to leave, we were given a special treat and got to feed the goats. The goats totally know its coming — within seconds we were surrounded!
We made our way back to Tampa, and stopped in Seminole Heights (one of Tampa’s up-and-coming trendy spots) and grabbed brunch at Ella’s Americana Folk Cafe. Then grabbed some dessert nearby at Revolution Ice Cream and cookies at Seminole Heights General Store. I mean, I’m sure we burned off tons of calories with all that hard yoga, right? Well, at least we got a workout picking up all those cute goats!