I thought that they were going to take it easy on us. I really did.
I mean, it was pretty clear that, while there were some hard-core yogis present, most of the crowd had come for the goats.
Including me. I’m an urbanite who gets most of my “nature” fix from David Attenborough documentaries and other people’s Instagram. But seeing goats, getting in a workout, and driving to tacos afterward? Count me in.
First of all, yes, it was outside. And yes, the proprietors of Paradigm Gardens warned us to keep shoes, phones, bags and other goat-edibles off the ground. They had plenty to chew on other than my black flats, since Paradigm Gardens is not ironically named (unlike Madison Garden, which still bugs me). It is a real, tangible hidden urban garden off the highway in Central New Orleans.
The hidden bit seems deliberate. It’s about a half square block behind a vine-covered fence on a quiet street with a mostly-covered sign on a disguised fence. I would have missed it without Siri. Inside, a path led to a lawn framed by sunflowers and, um, other colored flowers. Deeper in, they also had vegetables. One of the owners, mid goat-supervision, bent over, plucked something long and green off of a vine, and began to eat it. Right there, without hummus or anything. After a moment I figured out that it was a cucumber because I could smell it from about four feet away.
But NOLA Tribe Yoga (@nolatribeyoga) did not think that goats were a reason to take it easy on us, and for an hour petting the goats became the reason to take a break from whatever muscle-burning pose we were in.
With about seventy-five people there for yoga, and five goats, it wasn't the intimate, "yes I will adopt you and take you home right now and you will be at-home goat" experience that I had expected. The yoga was fast-paced, and I spent time that I wasn't staring at my own navel looking around for where the goats were. I was twisted into poses that I hadn’t been in for years, like fallen star (which I call awesome save on a slippery floor), and standing split (also known as my arms are shorter than my legs how do I do this?).
It was a totally different yoga experience, with intrepid ants during a warrior flow and a rainbow during tree pose.
Oddly, if it was a competition between the goats and the garden, the garden made the experience more special. I mean, how often do I get this view during shavasana?
NOLA Tribe Yoga made sure that I was sore for three days. It was weird but so much fun. It was fuzzy and scratchy but, surprisingly, not smelly. The flies loved me when I started to sweat hard about 2.5 seconds
into the practice.
And yes, there were tacos afterward.