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Carmel Valley JOY: Goats and Yoga

Nestled in the heart of Carmel Valley, looking out to a serene view of Garland Park, is a magical place with only one objective; to experience the JOY.

Carolyn Gray first became enamored with the idea of goats last year. In the midst of a polarizing political climate, Carolyn knew she needed an escape. Her “right place/right time” moment came when she was shown a photo of someone participating in Goat Yoga and the joy that came through in the photo was incredible and nearly tangible. Searching for her own stress relieving outlet, Carolyn thought ‘I have got to get some of those goats!’

Flash forward a year, Carolyn and her husband Richard, now have 8 goats on their property. They host Goats & Yoga every other weekend, as well as special events during the week. Carolyn has worked with cancer patients, special needs children and those experiencing anxiety, in which she has witnessed the therapeutic powers of the goats. She is a true believer. The power of the goats reduce stress and anxiety, provoke joy and laughter and overwhelmingly create a “be here now” mentality. All of which can boost your immune system.

She invited me to join a class.

Yoga mats form a mandala, within the circular goat enclosure. After meeting the “baby goats” it is time to be introduced to the “teen goats.” Carolyn releases them. Instructor Shauna cheers “GOATS, GOATS, GOATS, GOATS!” as the sweet stampede rush toward the yoga class. It is nearly impossible to witness this without a smile on your face. Helpers pass treats around, as the goats circle the students. Anytime a goat passes you are encouraged to pet them. The class focuses more on gratitude, presence and of course, JOY, rather than perfecting your yoga moves.

Carolyn says her goal was to create an hour of something joyful, that would get people out of their comfort zone, in a calming environment, that would distract and take people away from their everyday worries. Suddenly you are in the dirt, with a goat on your lap, laughing. This is where the healing begins, and that, is what Carolyn strives to provide for people.

Here, under an oak tree, surrounded by goats and smiling strangers, it is clear Carolyn’s mission to spread joy accomplishes just that.

To find your JOY and to learn more about Goats and Yoga, visit

Find this story and more, in the Monterey Herald's Community Focus section, spotlighting Carmel Valley: click here.

Photos by Caitlin Martis

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