Goat yoga, better known as goga, has been sweeping the fitness world (and Instagram feeds) since it climbed into the market a few years ago. Here in Austin, Rachael Phillips and her fiancé, Trey Kitchen, launched GOGA Goat Yoga in 2017, hosting pop-up classes around town and taking over a temporary space in South Austin's Lamar Union development.
This fall, the yoga company will make the leap into a permanent brick-and-mortar studio in the Hill Country Galleria, ensuring that all Austin "gogis" can get their vinyasa on alongside a bunch of, ahem, kids.
For Phillips, the benefits of doing yoga alongside animals is two-fold: not only do clients get the benefit of a yoga practice, but they get to spend time with animals, something that is proven to reduce stress and add joy.
"Adding baby goats to your yoga practice not only makes it easier to try for the first time due to the humorous and non-judgmental nature of the baby goats, but also can help experienced yogis remember to not take themselves too seriously and that laughing during practice can be beneficial," says Phillips. "Spending time with animals can help reduce stress because of their closeness to nature, and baby goats love to bond with people, often falling asleep on a gogi's back or cuddled up on somebody’s lap."
The goats themselves are Texas pygmy and Nigerian dwarf goats, raised in Hamilton, Texas, by 2CrazyGoatLadies. "My business partner and fiancé, Trey Kitchen, is Roxie's son, who owns 2CrazyGoatLadies," Phillips explains. "Roxie raises and sells goats as pets, so she not only is able to bring an endless supply of baby goats to GOGA, but also makes sure that the goats are safe and healthy at all times."
And while the goats will still appear during weekend classes at the Galleria location, the new studio also allows GOGA to expand class offerings to include traditional and hot yoga sans goat.
One thing that won't change, however, is the company's commitment to local charities. GOGA remains committed to donating 100 percent of T-shirt sales to area nonprofits and will continue to host special fundraising events. This month's event, running August 11-12 at Lamar Union, will be a birthday party for one of the goats. Yogis are encouraged to bring her a "gift," which will be donated to Austin Pets Alive!.
Phillips says the new West Austin studio is on track for an October opening, barring any major construction delays. Once open, GOGA will also remain in its Lamar Union locale for the foreseeable future.