UC Riverside’s Wellness Program and Staff Assembly co-sponsored seven “Thank Goodness for Staff Week” events during April 25-29. Activities included Build-a-Scotty, virtual Pictionary and trivia, coffee & donuts outside Hinderaker Hall, bingo and a mixer at The Barn — and goat yoga!
Directors, managers, communicators, administrative assistants, and even police officers from all over campus came dressed in fitness apparel and everyday office wear. Neon pink and emerald green sanitized yoga mats were provided by californiagoatyoga.com — along with a playful and friendly group of Nigerian Dwarf and miniature LaMancha goats.
With personalities akin to “dogs crossed with toddlers,” goats ranged in age from four months to four years. The youngest goat (my favorite) commanded all the attention with its insistent, yet adorable bleating. One of the older goats tried a few times to lead the class by taking center circle and bleating over the teacher's instructions. Through all the cuddly chaos, our human yoga teacher talked us through beginner yoga practice, while a teammate spread goat treats on our yoga mats to encourage goat-yogi interactions.
Lightly sun-drenched and positioned in two concentric circles in the grassy field by the Amy S. Harrison athletic field, goat-yoga enthusiasts moved through traditional poses like forward folds, downward dogs, and “cat-goats” — an on-brand renaming of cat-cow.
When asked why goat yoga, Jeff Girod, director of CHASS Marketing and Communications and president of UCR Staff Assembly said, “We thought it was something that would get folks interested enough to break out of their comfort zones. We understand that being remote and socially distanced for so long has made it more difficult to reconnect and it was a mental health event in a fun, low-stress setting.”
We’re hoping goat yoga is back next year due to its popularity, with over 100 registrants and about 25 standbys. It was the second most-attended staff appreciation event after Build-a-Scotty, which had over 250 participants.
If goat yoga does return to campus, hit that registration link sooner than later because these spots are sure to go faaaaaaaaast (insert goat impression).