I saw it on the ‘Gram’ (Instagram)
A couple weeks ago, a picture on my feed caught my eye. A friend and former classmate was posed in a plank position with a goat… yes a goat, standing on his back. “The caption read, 10/10 would recommend goat yoga #brothers.” and while, at first, I was stunned, that someone I knew had the opportunity to do something I had only dreamed of, I was able to contain myself, comment, and continue my day. Weeks later I thought back on what I had seen, and realizing that we needed some hot topics for the hottest month of the summer, I thought that this type of yoga, one I had only seen in the news, or in People Magazine, would make the perfect first piece for our four part Hot August How to and Bucket list stories – and with that, I reached out to Mike :
[Mike Maijenski is a current student at Merrimack College, getting a Masters in Health and Wellness Management. While earning his degree, Mike will also be working as an Active Science Fellow at the Lawrence, Massachusetts YMCA. There he will develop an active ciriculum for elementary school children. His Program seeks to measure various fitness variables to gage success and wellness in his community. He has provided all of the images for this post.]
You Have ‘Goat’ to be Kidding Me
Since its break out in 2017 goat yoga has been covered by news outlets like CNN and USA Today, and its benefits can be found on sites like GoatYoga.net. But what is the point of this? And why are people doing yoga, with goats? Well part of it is due to a rise in animal assisted therapy or AAT. AAT is a form of therapy proven to assist in a patients social, emotional and cognitive functioning. Like emotional support animals, animal yoga classes provide decreased levels of stress, better productivity and the potential for a longer life. But with a longer healthier life you’ll obviously have to pay more for healthcare. So I guess the question of the day is; how can goat yoga help you save on long term healthcare costs?
My friend, colleague and fellow Merrimack College graduate Mike Maijenski (’18) might have the answer we are looking for…
I’ve ‘goat’ a feeling
I have realized both in life and in blogging that people don’t want to be told to “work out”. This is mostly because working out has the stigma of being a chore. When told to go on an adventure, on the other hand, when told to find ones self-off the beaten path; I have noticed that we are all much more inclined to get up, get out, and get moving. Goat Yoga, for those who do or don’t know, is a recent fad/trend that combines animal therapy with yoga movements. And it’s one such experience that could get us up, out, and down with downward dog.
The cool thing about goat yoga – is that it doesn’t always make you feel like you are working out; but gives you the feeling that you are experiencing life. In this it melds the two incentives people respond to and at 20-30 dollars a class it’s also accessible and approachable.
It’s no secret that today, more people prefer experiences over exercises but more so, people like to feel like they have accomplished something. The coolest thing about Goat Yoga, for me, is that (and I didn’t know this before) is that it’s just as beneficial for the animals, as it is us. Walking out of a class knowing you have not only had fun and gotten a good workout is great, but knowing others (the goats) benefited from it – is even more of a reward.
One of the biggest supporting factors on why people are so keen on yoga, is the health benefit. Yoga alone is said to help increase and maintain a balanced metabolism, improve respiration (breathing), reduce stress and a persons weight. Similarly it can increase flexibility, which in turn yields to better athleticism and performance, and can even better protect us from injury.
“Exercise is the most important key to staying fit especially for the older population. Whether it’s going for a walk in the neighborhood or joining a gym. Most gyms have classes or personal trainers that work with people of all ages. It just depends on people’s resources. But as long as you are moving around it’s beneficial to your health.” – Mike Maijenski (Merrimack College Alumnus ‘18)
For my friend and colleague Mike Maijenski in particular, he noted that the class was not all about the yoga, but gave participants the freedom and choice to participate in the movements, or move and play with the goats. For him, a first time yoga participant, the idea of being in a low stress environment had an added no pressure benefit. This allowed him to take in not only the workout, but the experience as well.
Mike on Goat Yoga:
‘it was like any other yoga class out there, except with goats. I’ve never taken a yoga class before but the teacher went through her routine and we all followed along. The goats roamed around us while we did, and were really interactive with everyone in our class. They would jump on our backs and a few even fell asleep on the mats. I guess its very therapeutic for not only us, but the goats. Apparently they benefit a lot from human interaction. It was really cool to do something that’s relaxing for us and beneficial for them. – when the goats came around we could play with them or stay focused on the yoga itself.’ – Mike Maijenski (Merrimack College Alumnus ‘18)
The cool thing about what Mike was able to do, is that he wasn’t just “working out”. He was going on an adventure. “and yeah it was fun.” The fact of the matter is – being young and fit isn’t always synonymous, but wanting to find something that drives you to be better? to get fit? to work out your wallet and your arms? That’s something we all have in us.
Reiterating Adventure –
As was stated above, this idea of adventure is not new, but in today’s culture it’s more popular than ever. I think what most of us fail to see when we “have to” or feel obligated to go to the gym. It’s hard to do curls day after day, looking in the same streaky window. And the lack of diversity leads us to grow tired, get bored and give up. In other words – we lose the mystery and the excitement of doing something new when we keep doing the same old thing. I think that is what gets us discouraged from reaching our potential and being active.
You ‘Goat’ it Dude!
So back to the question… how can goat yoga help you save on long term healthcare costs? Well that is simple. By increasing longevity, boosting your metabolism, getting active, and reducing stress you can (in theory) lengthen your life. With a longer life comes a bigger payout to your Medicare A, B, and D, and while Social Security can’t cover all of it, what you do now can effect how much money you have in the future. By putting more emphasis on your health, you will have better productivity, less sick days, and yes – more money. So can goat yoga benefit more than the Yogi inside of you? Yes. and it can benefit your wallet too.
As a millennial, it’s classes like this, that define us as an innovative generation and its quirky posts like this – that help me decide to get up, get active and save some serious long term money.
[Image tagged at Native Earth Teaching Farm in Martha’s Vineyard]
Focused on the health and financial sectors ‘the Crossroads’ looks to the intersections between health and wealth and how they effect our readers on a weekly basis. To continue reading simply go to HealthyCapital.com > News and Resources and find me here, at the Crossroads, where health meets wealth. (New articles posted every Tuesday) healthycapital.com/category/crossroads/