Those attending the Arlington County Fair may have sighted something unique: “Goat yoga.”

No, it wasn’t the goats themselves doing the yoga, but under the leadership of Arlington yoga instructor Beth Wolfe (www.bethawolfe.com), the animals were instrumental in the proceedings in a number of ways.

Intrigued, the Sun Gazette checked in with Wolfe about how goats – and other animals – can be used to support yoga.

What is the benefit of engaging in yoga with any animals, but particularly with goats?

Yoga with animals is joyful! People who have never practiced yoga come alongside seasoned practitioners; it’s accessible to everyone. People leave smiling, laughing and relaxed. The goats are cute and funny and friendly. The practice is especially appealing to city-dwellers who wouldn’t otherwise get to interact with farm animals.

How did you get connected to the Arlington County Fair?

They called me and asked if we’d bring Goat Yoga to the fair!

The goats, of course, aren’t doing the yoga, but do they seem to enjoy the interaction with humans? Are some goats better at it than others?

Some goats love to jump up onto people’s backs and some like to be cuddled. Since they are pet goats (rather than “working” goats), they’re very friendly, and they definitely enjoy human interaction. They have unique personalities.  One of the older girls, Jubilee, tends to plunk down on a mat and stay there for the duration of class. People come to her for cuddles and petting, and she loves the attention. Joey, one of the younger boys, is our superstar – as soon as he sees people on their hands and knees, he’s ready to jump. He loves it.

You mention on your Website that you are not the originator of goat yoga. How did you find out about it, and what was your initial thought about it?

I saw it gaining steam online, and I knew we needed it in the D.C. area. We can all benefit from both yoga and animal therapy.

Not to be rude, but goats have a reputation as being a little, well, robust in their odor. Is that true?

I don’t think so! Of course, I’ve completely fallen in love with the herd from Walnut Creek Farm [an 11-acre farm in Salem, Va.], so I find their slightly earthy odor pleasant. It’s a little barnyard-ish, like fresh hay. The definitely don’t “stink.”

What’s next on your agenda when it comes to public events?

I have Yoga + Cider coming up at Lost Boy Cider in Alexandria, Acupuncture + Yoga at Ease Yoga & Cafe, and I regularly teach at the beautiful National Building Museum in D.C.

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