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Kidding around with yoga

Goat Yoga

Goat Yoga

Possum Valley Animal Sanctuary

Possum Valley Animal Sanctuary

Goat Yoga

Yvonne Ardley, ECU Reporter

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Yoga has come a long way since it first originated around 500 BCE, but the ancient Indians probably never expected this spiritual practice would incorporate the novelty of things like wine, beer or goats.

Goat yoga which started in the US has grown in popularity around the world and has even found its way to the outer suburbs of Perth.

Possum Valley Animal Sanctuary in the Helena Valley began running Goat Yoga classes with some of their rescue goats at the start of the year, though the announcement of up coming spring sessions have gone viral, with some classes selling out in under 20 minutes.

While yoga with goats has become highly sought after, I decided to have a look at some other non-traditional forms of yoga on offer around Perth.

In a heated decision I signed myself up for Bikram yoga.

Bikram yoga was founded in the 1970s and consists of 26 different poses and two breathing exercises in a heated room. Once quite popular in Perth, it seems to have slowed in the last few years.

The class was held at Bikram Original Hot Yoga Perth, run by husband and wife team Nick and Binny Smith.

I was extremely apprehensive going into this, I had heard from multiple friends that you feel like you’re going to die during the session.

I was, quite rightly, placed in a beginner’s class in a small but packed out room. The stifling temperate set at 40 degrees C.

The session began at an alarmingly fast pace, which as I learned later, was due to the temperature being so hot you don’t need to warm up.

I was told that as a beginner it was perfectly normal to feel nauseous and dizzy, which I did.

We moved through a series of poses over the 90 minutes and I proudly managed to not sit down on the mat for some ‘what the hell have I subjected myself to’ time out.

It was quite a good work out, every part of my body was exercised and sore in a good way.

The feeling after finishing the session was incredible. Apart from a slight headache, I felt fantastic. Disgustingly sweaty, red faced and unattractive, but fantastic.

Nick  told me Bikram is low impact, so great for old people, but they have seen great results with all their clients.

“A lot of our students have changed, they’ve changed their bodies and sometimes it helps them change their minds,” he said.

“Bikram is very disciplined. It tends to attract the A-type personality, people that want regimented exercise.”

When asked about the idea of goat yoga, Nick said people should do whatever works for them.

“I don’t tell anybody not to go and do other types of yoga … if it works, don’t fix it. If people enjoy it and it’s the kind of thing that’s going to help them, then power to them.”

Next on my list of yoga endeavours was Acroyoga, a modern mix of acrobatics with yoga where you transition through various lifts and poses with a partner, one being the base and the other being the flier.

This extremely fun class was run by husband and wife Joanne and Pepi Camponovo from Yoga Grooves.

It was far less serious than any yoga I’ve ever done but it was definitely one of my best experiences.

We started with some yoga poses, then quickly moved into the lifts.

This yoga is definitely not for someone who is uncomfortable getting touchy with strangers.

The first thing I had to do was essentially a side plank with my feet wedged into the hip of a man standing in a side lunge, whom I’d met just 10 minutes earlier.

For the extremely confident this could make for a hilarious first date, it’s a forceful way to break the ice.

We moved onto various hand stand type poses and I had a go balancing on someone’s feet while they lay on their back and vice versa.

We even tried a few group poses with the whole class which was challenging but thrilling.

I thoroughly enjoyed this yoga and while I felt about as graceful as a newborn deer on ice, I was genuinely surprised at how many poses I actually achieved.

Although there was no opportunity to try goat yoga before my deadline, I did get to chat with Mark Hayman, the Vice President of licensed charity Possum Valley Animal Sanctuary, who has organised the Goat Yoga classes.

Mark said the Goat Yoga originally was an idea to raise money for the sanctuary, but it has since blown up.

“While we always knew Goat Yoga would be a success, we’ve been completely blown out of the water with the amount of interest we’ve had,” he said.

While many showing interest in the event may like the novelty of baby goats climbing on them, they may not realise that the goats have come from difficult backgrounds.

“Many of Possum Valley’s goats have come to reside with us after being found orphaned, ill or injured, passed on to us by rescuers or confiscated by authorities from less than ideal homes.”

The classes are run by volunteers who Mark said love animals, but are also qualified yoga instructors, who will incorporate a variety of different yoga styles and meditation into the sessions.

Due to the demand Mark advises people who want a chance to attend Goat Yogato find them on social media.

“If anyone is interested it’s best to like our Facebook page and keep an eye on our events feed because no doubt they will continue to sell out fast.”

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Kidding around with yoga