Goat Yoga. You’ve seen it all over your Facebook and other social media feeds. What is this phenomenon and why is this a thing now? I had the chance to interview Lainey Morse, founder of Goat Yoga, and quickly booked my own Goat Yoga session with some girlfriends (July 22, 2017 can’t get here soon enough!). Keep on reading to find out why you should incorporate goat yoga into your life.
Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?
I’m originally from Michigan but I’ve been living in Oregon for the past 10 years. I’ve always wanted goats but never lived in a spot where I could have them. I finally moved to a farm about 3 years ago and I bought 2 goats.
What inspired you to open Goat Yoga?
I auctioned off a kids birthday party for charity and at that party one of the Mom’s was a yoga instructor. She had taken on yoga teacher training and was talking to me all about it. We were all standing out in my field with the goats around us and she asked if she could have a yoga class in my field. I told her sure but the goats will be all over the humans! I’m a photographer so we set up a promo shoot of her doing yoga with a baby goat on her back and I started marketing it as Goat Yoga. The response was amazing. I sent the pictures to Modern Farmer magazine and they did a story on it and then the Oregonian picked it up and after that it just snowballed and the NYT have been out, the BBC, hundreds of others. Going viral is AMAZING!
Besides the obvious, what does Goat Yoga provide that a traditional yoga place does not?
I think it’s really my take on a new form of animal-assisted therapy. It’s the same concept as taking your dog for a walk. You’re bonding with an animal, out in nature and getting exercise. Same as horseback riding. Same concept but just different! The class is full of happy distractions and relaxation and laughter. It’s making people disconnect from their day to day stress or problems or diseases and be happy. It’s impossible to be sad and depressed when you have a baby goat bouncing around you.
Tell us what it’s been like with the media explosion about this novel and yet almost simple (and adorable) concept?
I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster that I can’t get off since last August! I don’t want to get off it but life is going a million miles an hour. Amazing things happen every day. The e-mails I get from people from all over the world are amazing. Telling me they’ve suffered from depression their whole lives and just watching the Goat Yoga videos makes them happy. It’s helping people in really incredible ways. I’ve had book deal offers, TV offers and I think Goat Yoga has appeared in hundreds of media sites and publications all over the world. Now there are SO many other people doing Goat Yoga businesses! I did trademark it though so eventually I’ll be contacting them to see if they’d like to purchase the licensing!
What can we expect in a typical goat yoga session? How about with the goat yoga and wine session?
The yoga class is an all level class. We have people come all the time that have never even tried yoga but since there are goats they are giving it a try! It’s typically 30 minutes long and it’s followed by Goat Happy Hour (I call it that because happy is what it makes people). This is the time to do yoga poses with goats, get goat selfies and snuggle them. Goats just wander around the class occasionally jumping on people or just nuzzling them or laying down on their mats. They just love affection. At Goat Yoga & Wine tasting we actually DO drink wine at Goat Happy Hour!
What other types of services and/or specials do you offer?
At the moment, I’m only offering regular Goat Yoga classes and the wine tasting events but I have SO many more ideas that wake me up at 1 am! There are just so many possibilities. I want to start a Sunday Brunch Goat Yoga with Mimosa’s in the vineyard soon! I’m also selling the licensing to use the Goat Yoga name and I’ll be launching those soon!
What are some of your favorite stories of clients who have experienced Goat Yoga?
I had one lady who was going through chemo for breast cancer and she would tweet every time she was hooked up to her chemo machine about how excited she was to go to Goat Yoga. After her last chemo session, she treated herself to my class. When she walked in it was so amazing. Brought tears to my eyes. When the class started, everyone is laying on their mats and it was like my baby goat Poppy knew she needed to go snuggle her. She walked right over to her and laid down on her mat. It gave me chills. Last Saturday I had a lady who started crying and told me that she almost didn’t come because her husband was diagnosed with cancer and she was his caretaker. She said that she was so glad that she did come because it gave her a happy distraction! People need that.
Walk us through conception of starting your business until today. How did that work?
It has been quite the process of hitting road blocks and having to reroute. I absolutely love building a brand, promoting and marketing and this has been just incredible to have everyone fall in love with the concept. I live in Oregon so I had to stop classes through the Winter. I spent most of the winter doing media interviews and building the business. I created a package for the licensing that includes everything from marketing templates and concepts to financial spreadsheets and a guide to How to Run a Successful Goat Yoga business and what to do to run an event from start to finish. I had to stop having events at my farm because I’m not zoned correctly so I had to search for spots where I could do it. I found Hanson Country Inn in Corvallis which is a beautiful B&B and also Emerson Vineyards. They put up a fence for me right in the middle of the vineyard and it has 360 views. It’s amazing and I think that location is going to launch Goat Yoga & Wine Tasting into the stratosphere because there is nothing like it in the world. I’ve just finalized the licensing and signed my first 2 this week. I’ve had hundreds of people contact me and I’d rather have quality over quantity so I’m being very picky who I license with. I have several more contracts out that aren’t signed yet but I hope to get them signed this week!
Tell us about the goats? Do they all have different personalities?
They all have different personalities. They’re so funny and loving and some are extroverts and some are introverts. Some are very serious and suave while others are just big huge crack ups. I love them all like their my children!
Where do you see Goat Yoga in the future?
I see having licensee’s all over the world. I see the brand as the main hub for Goat Yoga. Since I trademarked the name I’ve come out with a line of apparel. I’ve even got vegan friendly beauty products like Body Butter, Sugar Scrub and Salt scrub. I’ve got hats, bags, goat themed yoga pants! I figured Go big or go home! Goat Yoga will not be the latest fad that dies away. This brand is here to stay.
Click here to book your Goat Yoga session now!