Are you familiar with the idea that one can entice a horse to move by dangling a carrot in front of its nose? The carrot is the “reward” the horse will supposedly receive for moving towards the carrot. It is a form of enticement.
All businesses, big and small, attempt to market to and entice potential clients to join/buy/download/connect with the business. Connecting with existing clients and attracting new clients are essential to the success of a business.
So, we’re curious . . . seriously curious . . . and somewhat puzzled by . . . goat yoga . . . and cat yoga . . . and beer yoga . . . and wine yoga . . . and naked yoga . . . and other “yoga and” types of yoga. Are these types of yoga serious attempts at connecting with clients? Are they marketing ploys? Are they yoga fads?
There’s no judgment here. At Sunrise Yoga, we offer many types of yoga classes but we haven’t tried goat, cat, beer, wine, or naked yoga. Valerie Kiser, owner of Sunrise Yoga, doesn’t own goats or cats, and while she might enjoy an occasional beer or glass of wine, she has no permit to serve either at Sunrise Yoga. And, again, no judgement, but the thought of being naked while instructing a group of yogis naked in downward dog at the Sunrise Yoga Studio is just not a visual she’s ready to tackle.
But people are connecting with goats/cats/beer/wine/nudity/whatever and yoga, and people are increasingly connecting with yoga overall, so is it the yoga or is it the “whatever” that inspires people to try yoga in these “out of the ordinary” experiences? Are these serious opportunities to connect yoga to the curious or are these fads or are these attempts to use the increasing interest in yoga to benefit causes and campaigns?
GoatYoga.net describes goat yoga as , “Animal-Assisted Therapy in a natural setting with an unexpectedly (there’s that word again) smart, social, and profoundly cuddly animal. It’s not a cancer cure, but it IS an unbelievable distraction from politics, work, stress, sickness or depression.” Lainey Morse of Albany, Oregon, began offering goat yoga from a child’s birthday party she hosted on the farm as part of a charity auction when a party attendee suggested offering a yoga class on her property. She agreed, but only if her goats could participate.
“In goat yoga, the point isn’t to sweat. It’s to have a baby goat climb on your shoulders during your plank,” says Agatha French with the LA Times. And goat yoga has become quite a big business as the interaction with cute goats and trendy yoga caught on.
CNN called yoga with cats “The Mewest Exercise Trend”. Similar to goat yoga, participants practice yoga with cats and/or kittens roaming the yoga space. But, unlike goat yoga, most cat yoga sessions offer the opportunity to adopt the roaming feline participants. NPR calls the relationship between yoga sessions with cats and cat adoption “pretty purrfect”.
And of course, dog yoga classes, aka “doga”, with adoption opportunities are equally popular.
Beyond cute animals and animal adoption efforts, yoga “carrots” are ever increasing. Or maybe the “carrots” aren’t yoga at all but other things that are latching on to the increasing popularity of yoga.
WorkforYourBeer says, “Beer yoga classes are an awesome way to exercise, socialize, and support local businesses in Charlotte. There are brewery yoga classes in Charlotte for everyone, whether you’re looking for gentle zen practice or an intense vinyasa flow that will leave you sweating. Grab your mat and head over to one of the many inexpensive (or free) yoga classes offered throughout Charlotte.”
Similar classes exist with wine and marijuana.
The ever increasing popularity of yoga excites us. Yoga is an ancient practice that continues to find ways to connect to and attract with modern day participants. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from “the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature.”
If it takes goats/cats/beer/nudity to unite an individual with yoga, then mission accomplished! Maybe that’s no different than music in a yoga flow class or adult coloring in Quieting the Mind. Maybe the “carrot” is insignificant.
If you could offer a “carrot” to attract people to yoga and meditation, what would it be? Let’s go ahead and eliminate “We’ll pay you to do yoga!” Sunrise Yoga doesn’t have deep enough pockets to go that route!
As always, we appreciate your feedback. Leave a comment or email us at info@SunriseYoga.net.