Wednesday Zen Moment: Goat yoga and goat feeding at Washington cemetery

A fundraiser at Washington D.C.’s 200-year-old Congressional Cemetery using goat yoga and goat feeding was so successful, there are plans to hold more events after thousands of dollars was raised.

The Congressional Cemetery, where anybody can get buried and not just dead members of congress, was the cemetery’s first foray into goat yoga. The event was held in late May.

Paul Williams, the director of the Congressional Cemetery, believes goat yoga was a long time coming. Until recently, District law forbade the activity under a long-standing no-touching-goats policy.

“I tried everything I could for about a year to get goat yoga,” Williams said in a story in the Washington Post.

The Health Department just put up every obstacle they possibly could.” He recalled meeting with a room full of lawyers who “had the law books all spread out on the table and said, ‘This is not happening.’”

The cemetery already hosted classes among the tombstones – “Yoga Mortis,” they call it – and found a loophole in D.C. regulations that allowed them to use goats to clear out invasive plants.

But the no-touch policy, based on the Animal Control Act of 1979, meant goat yoga was out of the question.

The city council’s Health Committee was already in the process of trimming regulations. The council expedited the issue by tacking a farm animal provision onto a bill that overhauled the District’s vital records system. The bill passed in October, allowing goats and sheep into Washington for the purposes of, among other things, “participating in yoga or similar activities.”

Williams learned of the change only after the church that owns the cemetery property sought a permit for a live-nativity scene – “a couple sheep, goats, a llama or something” – and was informed of the District’s new, pro-goat stance.

Williams posted on Facebook that the event was so successful $14,000 was raised by selling tickets. The cemetery held a yoga class and then a feeding class so people can feed baby goats.


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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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