The average yoga session experienced a shakeup on Wednesday when students practiced their flexibility and core strength — among a trio of goats.
Temple University’s Office of Sustainability sponsored two goat yoga sessions at the Temple Community Garden at Carlisle and Diamond streets as part of Wellness Week. The sessions were intended to help students improve their self-sustainability skills as they juggle academic, personal and professional responsibilities.
“For sustainability, this is great guerrilla marketing, but this time it’s goat marketing,” said Kathleen Grady, the director of sustainability at Temple. “It’s a great way to engage students.”
She added she hopes the event will help bring awareness to Temple’s sustainability initiatives like renewable energy use, recycling and the promotion of locally produced food.
The yoga classes were held in partnership with the Philly Goat Project, a community-based program that promotes wellness through animal-assisted therapy and goat yoga.
Staff members at the Philly Goat Project often use goats to prune and trim plants as a way of minimizing their impact on the environment, instead of using potentially harmful fuel and machinery.
During the goat yoga sessions, participants were led by a yoga instructor, while the goats—Ivy, Anthony and Bebito—wandered around the mats. The three frequently hopped on top of people doing yoga, jumping from back to back.
The Philly Goat Project uses specially trained goats for these events, and various animal yoga services are becoming more popular around the Philadelphia region. Montgomery County farms like Maple Glen and Rose Bridge are among those that have started offering yoga with farm animals.
After the first yoga session, the goats walked to the pavillion next to Paley Library for a “Chillin with Philly Goats” session. Staff admitted students to a fenced-in area one at a time to play with the goats and watch them do tricks.
At 4 p.m., the goats traveled back to the community garden to appear at a second yoga session.
Sophomore psychology major Alana Beam and sophomore speech pathology major Bella Dutra noted the event’s popularity.
“We waited in line for at least an hour,” Beam said. “They had to let in groups of five at a time.”
Although neither of them had played with goats before, Dultra and Beam both said they felt comfortable.
“I trusted them probably more than I should for an animal I don’t know,” Dutra said. “They’re cute.”
Beam said she thought students would enjoy events like goat yoga happening on campus more often.
“[For] a lot of people who love animals…experiences like that are enough to make a whole day,” she added.