Jennifer Moreland
Jan 17, 2017 · 6 min read

How Goat Yoga Became an International Sensation

The goats of Goat Yoga. Photo Credit Lainey Morse.

Lainey Morse was at a changing point in her life. She had been diagnosed with a debilitating auto-immune disease, gone through a divorce, and was on a path to change her career. A professional photographer by trade, she dreamed of hosting an animal therapy destination at her privately owned goat farm named No Regrets Farm.

Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley in Albany, Oregon, the farm boasts picturesque scenery, with distant views of the Oregon Coast Range Mountains. During the golden hour, sunsets from this location are stunning.

The Golden Hour at No Regrets Farm in Albany, Oregon. Photo Credit Lainey Morse.

The Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy goats Lainey owns are a source of therapeutic comfort to her. Spending time with the goats makes the stresses of the world melt away. She desired to share her healing discovery with others.

Lainey changed the barn into a cozy hang-out space, a place where both friends and goats alike could mingle and feel comfortable. She strung up strings of white lights, hung a few pictures on the barn walls, and added chairs and large wooden table. Bales of hay were placed around the interior along with a smattering of straw scattered across the floor. The last thing she hung on the wooden walls of the barn was a full boxed wine bladder, spigot side down. With the barn decorations complete, Lainey then invited a few close friends to join her for Goat Therapy and to enjoy, what she termed, Goat Happy Hour.

No Regrets Barn decorated for Goat Therapy and Goat Happy Hour. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse.

Turns out visiting with goats while drinking a relaxing glass of wine was just what the doctor ordered. People loved Goat Therapy and Goat Happy Hour. A FaceBook page, an Instagram Account, and a website named Your Daily Goat was created. Pictures of people smiling while holding and interacting with goats were posted, and the number of followers on My Daily Goat grew quickly. It was a hit! More locals began messaging her, asking if they could stop by for Goat Happy Hour.

Goat Happy Hour at No Regrets Farm. Photo Credit Lainey Morse.

It was simple. It was not complicated.

It made people smile and forget the cares and chaos of the modern world.

It was magical and profoundly healing.

A local non-profit organization was having their annual fundraising auction event in May of 2016. A friend asked Lainey if she would like to donate to their cause. She graciously donated a birthday party event to be held in her recently spiffed up goat barn. A woman purchased the donated party and a date was set.

This was the crucial moment that would change Lainey’s life path forever.

The barn was adorned with whimsical birthday party decorations . Groups of parents arrived to the party with their excited children. Goats mingled around the guests and adoringly nudged the humans. A mom by the name of Heather was attending the party and just so happened to be a yoga teacher. She studied the way people were reacting to the goats and how the goats interacted with the party visitors. Looking out at the beautiful scenery, Heather approached Lainey and asked her a simple question.

“Have you ever considered hosting Yoga here at the farm?”

Lainey smirked. She thought it was an excellent idea, and she was game.
“As long as we include the goats.” Lainey replied.

A person might think that the idea of Goat Yoga is ridiculous. Who would possibly want to do a Downward Dog position with little furry goats frolicking around the class? Could that even be possible?

The two of them set up the first Goat Yoga class and asked if anyone wanted to participate through the My Daily Goat social media accounts. Quickly the class filled up. So many people asked to be part of the first class that some had to be turned away and were put onto a waiting list. The first Goat Yoga was held in August of 2016.

The Original Goat Yoga. Photo Credit Lainey Morse.

Now, people in Oregon are known to be quirky. The satirical television show Portlandia demonstrates just how outrageous Oregonians can sometimes be.

Lainey knew that she had something special with Goat Yoga. Something pure and completely bona fide Oregon.

She contacted the publication Modern Farmer and asked if they would like to do a story on Goat Yoga. They said “Oh My God, yes!” The article was printed at the end of August. Lainey went to bed the night before it was published not knowing what was about to happen.

The time was ripe.

The current political climate and global state of affairs had humanity yearning for a novel idea. The world was screaming for something as crazy as Goat Yoga to be born into existence.

The first Goat Yoga session. Photo credit Lainey Morse.

That next day, the internet exploded.

The immediate attention hit Lainey like an exuberant ocean sneaker wave. A seemingly insignificant ripple out in the distance that suddenly wipes you out with the sheer force of its size and power. She was stunned.

This was the moment that Goat Yoga became an international sensation.

Numerous publications and News Outlets were emailing and calling. Everyone wanted to cover the Goat Yoga story.

The Oregonian wrote a piece about Goat Yoga.
The BBC News did a segment on Goat Yoga.
Inside Edition, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, People Magazine, and USA Today, and so many more, did a feature on Goat Yoga.

In November 2016 Goat Yoga shared headline space with soon to be President Donald Trump in the New York Times under the popular Morning Briefing section- the news you “need to know before you start your day.”

Image courtesy of Lainey Morse.

The fame did not end there.

Quickly Lainey trademarked Goat Yoga at Legalzoom.com. More Goat Yoga dates were planned and set. Events such as Holiday Yoga and Baby Goat Yoga were planned.

A waiting list to participate in Goat Yoga grew to over 1500 people, including people from around the globe. Other goat farmers wanted to host their own Goat Yoga and wondered if they could buy into the franchise. It was goats gone wild!

Self Magazine published an online article along with a video from the YouTube channel 60 Second Docs. That video posted on Self’s Facebook Page went viral,with over 7 million views.

A few days ago, Goat Yoga was featured on NPR.

When asked how she feels about it all, Lainey Morse said- “It’s just mind blowing. Every morning I wake up and something new and amazing is happening. This morning I’m talking to people who want to be a franchisee in New Zealand, Germany, and Australia! Craziness! I just want to squeal super loud and dance all over.”

And dance you should, Lainey. The whole world needs your enthusiasm and yearns for a chance to lose themselves in the healing powers of your Goat Empire .

Hello. This is my first submission to Medium. If you liked this story, and want to read more like it, please follow me!

Jennifer Moreland

Written by

Creator & Curator of the Downtown Corvallis Oregon Mural Project. We all have a story to tell, and I have quite a few.

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