In Ridgefield, goat yoga offers ‘a joyous brain vacation’

RIDGEFIELD — Grow Wellness, an alternative therapy center on Ethan Allen Highway, this week held a unique yoga event with some friendly farm animals. As they moved through the motions, participants were accompanied by a group of giddy goats.

“Grow Wellness began orchestrating goat yoga at the beginning of this summer,” CEO and founder Kathleen Kweskin said. “We were looking for a destination activity that would be safe and therapeutic (for students and) assist the transition of everyone gathering again and the world reopening. What we found, however, was so much more amazing than we had anticipated.”

Class registration filled up quickly once the event was posted, Kweskin said.

“The funny thing is we didn’t seek out goat yoga — goat yoga found us,” she added. “We posted on the Ridgefield (Facebook) page looking for a location and met Kristen with Got Your Goat in the comments. People saw the interaction and began to call our front desk looking for goat yoga, saying they wanted to sign up. So we had the yoga, we had the goats, and then it came down to finding a location because our yoga studio is indoors.”

Grow Wellness’ real estate agent, Alex Capozzoli, connected Kweskin with Veronica’s Garden stand, which is located off of Ridgebury Road. “Their gardens (were) perfect,” Kweskin said. “In all my experience in my field and studies, I have never seen such a powerful event.”

Animal-assisted therapy has quickly become a staple in wellness and therapeutic environments, according to Kweskin, connecting people to nature, mindfulness and uplifting their energy. Goats are one of the top animals used in animal-assisted therapy because they are playful, cuddly, mischievous and provide entertainment while calming the nervous system.

“Usually in a mindfulness meditative practice, you are focused on creating your best life through moment-to-moment experience,” she added. “The goats, however, immediately pull you into mindfulness without any effort. ... Worries, anxieties and to-do lists are nonexistent as a goat comes and bounces around looking to cuddle and play. It’s essentially a joyous brain vacation.

“By mixing yoga and animal-assisted therapy, you get a powerful moment of joy, wellness and healing unlike any other,” she continued. “The energy shift is so beautifully intense — from curiosity as first timers set up their mats to an elated, joyful energy. Attendees who may not have known each other (fell) into fast friendships by the end, so you’re also getting the therapeutic effects of a supportive, judgment-free community.”

To elevate the experience, musician Jay Margolin played guitar and a handpan drum as students performed the yoga positions. Veronica’s Garden stand offered fresh fruits and vegetables, and Grow Wellness provided a table stocked with eco-friendly CBD products, crystals from Brazil, yoga accessories and sound bowls from India.

Grow Wellness is at 901 Ethan Allen Highway (Suite 109) in Ridgefield. For more information, visit