Goat Yoga, Meet the Zoning Board
Young goats have on occasion grazed in the Historic Congressional Cemetery, deployed to keep down brush. A yoga instructor has been holding weekly classes in the chapel.
Goats and yoga go together, as any modern yogi knows. So, cemetery staff proposed this spring, why not combine them and bring inner peace to all on the grounds?
“I asked the farmer if there’s any harm to the goats doing yoga,” says Kelly Carnes, who teaches the discipline on the cemetery grounds. “She said quite the opposite—the baby goats just love to interact with humans.”
Gruff was the response from District of Columbia officials. District policy, they decreed, prohibited the human-animal contact goat yoga presented: “At this time the request for the event with the inclusion of baby goats has been denied.”
Goats appear to have begun engaging in yoga in America last year in earnest after photographer Lainey Morse hosted a session among kids she keeps as pets on her Albany, Ore., farmland.
In a typical class, yogis assemble on a lawn or pasture and young goats are loosed among them. “Humans have a hard time being present,” Ms. Morse says, while “goats have a sense of calm about them.”
As the new approach spread across America, though, some aspiring goat yogis have butted heads with local officials who say health codes and land-use rules don’t contemplate the commingling of livestock and students of the practice rooted in ancient India.