Mat Mctaggart, owner of Vancouver Island Goat Yoga. A goat yoga class will be held in Shirley on June 21. (Photo by Mike Pepperdine of Besea Photolab)

Mat Mctaggart, owner of Vancouver Island Goat Yoga. A goat yoga class will be held in Shirley on June 21. (Photo by Mike Pepperdine of Besea Photolab)

Goat yoga sessions kick off in Shirley

Classes will be held outdoors and include maximum 10 participants

Here’s a down-dog like you’ve never experienced it before.

Goat yoga returns to Shirley on June 21, giving participants a chance to get in a good stretch while bonding with some adorable four-legged friends.

Dana Haydon, who founded Vancouver Island Goat Yoga earlier this year with her partner Mat Mctaggart, said she’s looking forward to getting things started again.

Though Haydon wasn’t able to hold classes in the past couple of months due to the coronavirus pandemic, it allowed her to focus on her hoofed family, who gave birth to five new babies.

About eight goats will be participating in the June 21 session, Haydon said.

The yoga classes are a great introduction for those who have never tried yoga before, said Hayden, and can be even more appealing to anyone who has an interest in interacting with goats.

“It will be a slow flow style of yoga, and it is focused on the connection with the animals. To get out of our minds and in to the current moment,” said Haydon, noting spending time with goats melts her stresses away, and she feels a special connection to them.

“I see that in classes for other people too. The curious, silly personalities of the goats rub off on people, and everyone is always smiling and laughing at them. It’s a lot of fun.”

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Haydon said her goal with goat yoga is to bring more love and joy into the world, and hold space for people to escape and release from the tensions of daily life.

“I love seeing people leave a class smiling from ear to ear. It is great to see the change in energy,” Haydon said.

The classes will have a limited number of 10 participants per class, and mats will be spaced out to ensure physical distancing. Those who wish to attend are required to register before the class, and will be contacted by Haydon for a COVID-19 screening before being accepted into the class. If you are unable to attend, you will be refunded.

“We have always asked people to wash their hands before and after the class as well, because they are interacting with animals,” said Haydon.

Participants have the option of whether they would like to wear masks, but the yoga sessions will be held outdoors. Haydon also asks that people do not bring the goats to their faces, or touch the goats’ faces.

The class costs $30 and runs from 2 to 3 p.m. at Pioneer Park across from the community hall in Shirley. For more information on upcoming classes, please visit the Vancouver Island Goat Yoga Facebook page.

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