At the beginning of every session, our yoga instructor Leah Morgan asks the question of the participants gathered in our Pavilion:
“Who is here for the yoga?”
Everyone laughs, and almost no one raises their hands… because most people come for the you-know-whats.
We are as surprised as you surely are that we are hosting sold-out sessions of yoga featuring goats!
How we got your goat…
When Paradise Park Founder & CEO Jon Ellis first saw the goat yoga phenomenon one morning last winter on a morning news show, he immediately thought it was an ideal activity to bring to the Park, and provide an opportunity to offer goat yoga in Kansas City.
“We are constantly developing new, quality experiences to offer our guests, and creating opportunities to introduce the Park to people who have never been here before,” Jon says. “Goat Yoga is a unique, fun activity for all ages. We have the perfect outdoor setting to host, and I knew of some great local businesses that would be ideal to partner with. It was all just such a good fit!”
So he called a couple of friends: Maggie Everson, owner of Sunset Trails Stables, who has also partnered with us to provide petting zoos for our Fall Harvest Days and some fundraising activities, and Leah Morgan, owner of Core Balance Yoga Center and a well-respected yoga instructor and trainer, who has also hosted some events with us.
Jon proposed the idea, and both adventurous business owners were game to try.
“Goats have so much personality,” explains Maggie, our goat guru. Sunset Trails is primarily an equestrian farm but they also have many other animals. “They’re so much fun. They brighten my day all the time. I love giving others the chance to share the joy they bring.”
Leah thought it sounded like a lot of fun to stretch the yoga experience into something different. “Why not? We’re so busy adulting, we take ourselves too seriously so much of the time. It sounded like a great opportunity to lighten up and have some fun.”
So, after a thorough brainstorming and logistics session, the partnership had a plan and launched the idea to the community.
The first date we offered online sold out in 24 hours. We added more sessions and more dates that also sold out in a matter of hours. So, we added even more dates! As of now, we have two remaining options available with some spots still open (click on date to register): Sunday, August 5 and Sunday, September 9.
There’s no elephant in the room, but there are goats in the Pavilion!
Goats are an interesting mix of curious and calm, playful and peaceful creatures. The idea to put goats with humans during yoga originated on a farm in Oregon back in 2016, when a gal with goats offered the first goat yoga as a sort of therapy. It became wildly popular.
Here at Paradise Park, we offer two sessions once a month under the cover of our large outdoor Pavilion, surrounded by trees in our Outdoor Garden on the woodsy back acreage of our Park. It’s an area some people are surprised to learn we have available. It’s also used for company picnics, corporate events, family reunions, field trip lunches, wedding rehearsal dinners, and more. The concrete floor and half-walls provide perfect environment for the goats to roam safely without wandering or being distracted, the open air environment offers a great outdoor experience while the roof provides shelter from rain and heat (and we never have to cancel). It also makes cleaning up super easy when goat nature calls.
Our sessions accommodate 50 humans and 12-16 goats. The big white goats you see in photos are 2-year-old Nubian goats, and the others are “teenage” Boar or Pygmy goats under 1 year old. Maggie has four adorable babies that she’s been bringing, though the babies can’t be mixed with the older goats so they watch from a pen in the corner.
Goats are among the safest animals to interact with. They don’t have upper front teeth. They’re known to be great companions, and they all have their own personalities. They also do pee, poop and chew at will, so there’s that. We recommend participants don’t wear their best Lululemaon outfits, and that they bring an old mat and a towel to put over it.
There’s always a grand entrance after the humans get settled in their nice, neat and colorful rows. Maggie opens the pen gate and the goats wander in and usually have something to say about it all. One goat in particular, Ben Franklin, likes to jump over the gate which always elicits laughter and puts us all at ease.
Leah leads the yoga making some adaptations—there are no laying down poses, and the ending savasana (rest) is focused on being fully present and observing the goats in the quiet.
Our guests think goats are the cat’s meow.
One common thread among our participants has been their love of animals. And of course, especially a love of goats. Goat yogis also have an adventurous spirit, open to trying new things and an appreciation for the playfulness of the experience.
Kansas City artist Lisa Lala attended with her daughter, who had a magical moment with some of the baby goats. Lisa said she was surprised herself at how special the experience was. “Who knew this was just what I needed?”
The Thompson family from Leawood had a creative reason for purchasing their tickets as a Mother’s Day gift. “She’s a G.O.A.T. Mom,” said daughter Courtney, who explained G.O.A.T. means “Greatest Of All Time.” Mom Patty loves yoga, and said she had a great time enjoying her gift with her family. And Dad Clark admitted he really just wanted to get a selfie with a goat… (who doesn’t?!)
Why NOT Goat Yoga?
At the end of each session, Leah gestures the traditional namaste bow of respect for the light in each of us, and inspires participants with a final greeting that summarizes the best “why” of all: “Let’s plant a seed of light, levity and fun in our hearts to carry in our day.”
Purchase your tickets to light, levity and fun with Goat Yoga now. Or watch a video to see what Goat Yoga at Paradise Park is like.