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Yesterday, I tried something new. After hearing about it for a couple of years now, I finally tried…wait for it…GOAT YOGA! A friend of mine who teaches called me a few weeks ago, to ask if I’d be interested in subbing for her in May. I must admit that I almost said I wasn’t interested, but then she said to me, “You know, I got into teaching yoga because I want to make people feel good. Goat yoga does that…it’s so laid back and everyone is just so happy after.” How could I say no to that?

She suggested I come try it myself, since it’s really different from how I am used to teaching. So my daughter and I decided to check it out together yesterday. Oh my Goodness! I can’t remember the last time I smiled and giggled so much!

This little baby girl was taken with me for the first 15 minutes or so of class. They call her Little Mac, and she just kept pawing me every time I stopped petting her. Then she climbed up on me for a little bit, tried to eat my shirt, and then went on her way to the next person.

Later, Casey and I got more interactive with the goats, and that just made us giggle even more.

I left that class feeling so happy. So full of joy. Not only did the goats bring me many smiles and laughs, but I got to spend time with my daughter (which can be very rare these days). Also, I ran into people I knew, and met some new people…I felt like we had a little community established by the end of our time together.

It inspired me to write my own meditation, which I closed my yoga class with tonight. I call it the Meditation for Joy. Here it is…try it yourself, giving yourself at least 5 minutes (we did this for almost 15 minutes in class tonight):

Come to a comfortable position, perhaps a seated position, or even lying down. Someplace where you can spend the entire time you plan to devote to this meditation.

Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. As you inhale, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, tensing the muscles. As you exhale, let the shoulders relax and drop away from the ears. Do this for a few rounds, and notice how your neck and shoulders relax a little more after each round.

Now, focus on evening out your inhales and exhales. Perhaps you inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 3 (pick a count that works best for you). After 3-5 rounds of this, settle in to a normal breathing pattern.

On your next inhale, think about something that is causing you stress or anxiety in your life at this time. Maybe it’s an illness. Maybe it’s a relationship. Whatever it is, greet it as you would an old friend. Be respectful to it, acknowledge it, but politely ask it to leave. Simply say, “I don’t have time for you in my life at the moment, so I need you to respect me and go.” And as you begin your next exhale, visualize that thing leaving you, and feel a little lighter as you begin your next round of breath. Sit with this feeling for a few rounds of breath, noticing how you feel, how your breathing might have been affected, any thoughts that have arisen. There is no right or wrong. Simply notice.

On your next inhale, think about something that brings a smile to your face. A smile to your heart. Maybe it’s a person. Maybe it’s a place. Whatever it is, greet it as you would an old friend. Ask this friend to join you for a bit. Simply say, “It is so nice to see you! Let’s spend some time together and catch up. There is so much for us to share!” And as you begin your next round of breath, visualize what you would want to do with this old friend. Would you share a cup of coffee over a cozy dining table and catch up? Would you take a walk along a breezy ocean beach? As you visualize this time you’ll spend together, notice if you feel lighter and happier with every round of breath you take. Notice what thoughts arise. There is no right or wrong. Simply notice. Spend as much time here as you wish.

When you’re ready, begin to deepen your breath. On your next inhale, take a big stretch. Release on your exhale. Take any movements you need to, and coming to seated, take your hands to heart center, thumbs at your heart, chin to chest. Take a big inhale, and exhale through the mouth, as a big heavy sigh, releasing anything that does not serve you.

Try this meditation for yourself. If you do, I’d love to know what you think! Please share in the comments!

Namaste,

Melanie

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