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Yoga participants relax with goats

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Mocha the goat keeps watch over the goat yoga class on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at The Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Mocha the goat keeps watch over the goat yoga class on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at The Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska. The goats were there from Shepard's Rest a local goat and sheep rescue.

Thomas the Fainting Goat walked directly up to a Mark, Saturday morning and did what his name implies, right his yoga mat. He then refused to get up.

On the other side of an old storage room at Gateway Mall, another goat decided that eating its tutu was better than wearing it. The other goats were content to play, take selfies and be pet by yoga participants.

“As soon as you see it you can’t help but smile and they are just so cute and cuddly, you cannot help but be happy,” owner of Juniper Spa & Yoga Studio Mindy Horn said.

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Mocha loves to be pet by members of the class. and is popular at every event.

Essentially, goat yoga is a Hatha course with poses, breathing exercises, and meditation appropriate for all levels. Goat Yoga has been around since 2016 has been gaining popularity among yoga enthusiasts and animal lovers alike. In 2018, it hit its peak, with major news outlets reporting on the joys and benefits that come with animal yoga.

Around this time, Juniper Spa & Yoga Studio partnered with a local goat and sheep rescue, Shepard’s Rest.

Shepard’s Rest owner Jen Schurman, started out doing animal-assisted therapy with dogs, and starting 12 years ago she began to work with goats. She quickly found out that some of her patients were afraid of dogs or were just allergic to them. After some research, she found goats.

“There was no bias towards goats, all of the patients that rejected animal therapy with dogs wanted contact with a goat,” Schurman said.

Even though there were a few “accidents” on the mats, many participants looked thrilled and couldn’t stop laughing at these small jubilant goats.

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Mark Lee holds Thomas the fainting goat after he fainted on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at The Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“My favorite part was when the goats got in the way, It was just a fun quirky spin on yoga,” Catherine Koss said.

Many said they felt more relaxed and happier after the 45-minute course.

“I loved the course, even though I did get a little pee on me,” Jonathan Lee said.

I’m fourth year Journalism and Broadcasting student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am currently a photojournalist for Cedar County News. In Fall 2019, I will be a photo intern for the Omaha World Herald. I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming and it helped influence me in countless ways. First and foremost being taught that hard work is a way of life and doing a good job benefits everyone. Much of my time has been spent around hard working and honest blue collar workers and from them In have learned that hard work pays off. They knew that obstacles and fears and meant to be overcome and while failure is expected giving up is something I will not allow myself. My work is driven by an urge to educate people, in hopes that I can help eliminate fears and help people make connections to those they have never met. Showing people the human side of of stories and issues is the best way to inspire change. To go the distance to give the public the information to help them make well informed decisions. When I am not working I love being outside. I hike, rock climb, watch documentaries, and try not to get eaten by bears (they are everywhere you know). Anything that keeps me on the move helps me learn makes me happy.