Lifestyle

Doing the downward dog at goat yoga

  • Goat yoga at WindReach Recreational Village (Photograph supplied)
  • Yoga teacher and wellness instructor Katie Titterton (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
  • Katie Titterton's first goat yoga class (Photograph supplied)
  • Goat yoga at WindReach Recreational Village (Photograph supplied)
  • Kattie Titterton in front leading a goat yoga class at WindReach (Photograph supplied)

It’s not easy doing yoga in the middle of a flock of goats.

Sometimes the goats poo where you want to do a pose, and sometimes they chew on your yoga mat.

But Katie Titterton is determined to bring the latest craze — yoga with farm animals — to Bermuda.

She held a pilot goat yoga class at WindReach Recreational Village on Wednesday.

“I know it sounds a bit silly,” said the 30-year-old. “But that’s the point.

“It’s about relaxing through laughter and enjoying some time with animals.”

She believes having goats in the class, will help newcomers relax a little.

“That way the student isn’t really concentrating on whether they’re doing things right,” she said. “There’s less stress that way. Yoga should be fun.”

Ms Titterton plans to fully launch goat yoga next month at WindReach Recreational Village.

She first got the idea after seeing a CNN report on it seven months ago.

“When my dad, Roger Titterton, saw the show he joked we should get some goats,” said Ms Titterton. “I knew he was only joking, but the wheels started turning in my mind.”

At the time she was already teaching yoga to special needs children at WindReach, and the charity just happened to have goats in their petting zoo.

“I admit I don’t have much experience with goats,” said Ms Titterton. “My expertise is horses, but I’m willing to give it a go. I’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity. This combines all my passions of health, yoga and animals.”

She said the WindReach horses looked a little bemused when she held the class outside.

“It was actually their first time seeing goats,” she said. “I think the goats just enjoyed being outside and were cavorting around.”

The pilot class allowed her to iron out some kinks, such as escape routes.

At the end of the class one of the goats tried to sneak away.

“We were in wind-down mode,” said Ms Titterton. “Everyone was in corpse pose, lying on their backs with their eyes closed.

“I looked over and there was a goat trying to climb over the fence. I said ‘keep going class. Nothing to see here’. Then I went over and tried to get the goat back in the enclosure.”

So when the classes kick off at the end of next month there will be people on hand to keep an eye on the goats, and pick up any poo.

And there will be stops during the class for animal lovers to cuddle the goats.

The goats themselves are receiving a little training.

“The people at WindReach are teaching them a few things using clickers,” Ms Titterton said. “That way if they are getting in the way while you’re doing your yoga you’ll be able to get them to move on. And there will be hay set up around the area to distract them a bit.”

Five goats will probably take part in the class. A sixth goat was excluded because she was a bit too big.

“If she tried to jump on someone she probably would have hurt them,” said Ms Titterton.

At the end of the class students will thank their fourlegged coaches with special treats.

If goat yoga works out, Ms Titterton might expand to other animals.

“We have talked about including therapeutic chickens, rabbits, sheep and horses,” she said. “There is a niche there and people need it.”

If it sounds crazy, Ms Titterton said it sure beats working in an office.

“Two years ago I was working in a law firm in a support role,” she said. “Pretty quickly I figured out the office environment was not for me.

“I have always been more outdoorsy. I started feeling stressed and miserable.”

In March 2015, she quit her job to become a health and wellness coach.

She enrolled in a year-long health course and found she loved it.

“I learnt all about food,” she said. “I’ve loved to cook since I was a child. The kitchen is my happy place. I completely changed my lifestyle and my eating habits.”

In the autumn she runs the Kale & Cake Company, selling vegan and gluten-free baked goods from the J&J farm stand across from Ariel Sands in Devonshire.

Earlier this year, she expanded her talents again when she became a certified yoga instructor.

“In March, I went to Costa Rica to take a course,” she said. “I’d like to also become certified in special needs yoga.

“To be honest, the yoga and health part of what I do comes first for me, and the cooking is second.

“But the cooking side has really taken off.”

Ms Titterton said there are a lot of cool things happening for her right now, but none of them involve office work.

The details of the goat yoga class are still being ironed out.

For information see Facebook under katietittertonwellnessbermuda, e-mail katie.titterton@gmail.com or call 747-3666.