Uncle Mort and Goat Yoga

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, June 8, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

   Ostensibly, my 104-year-old Uncle Mort phoned to seek my opinion on a subject about which I know little–no, strike that–about which I know nothing. He was at an active wear store, trying to decide on the color of gear he should wear when he opens his ‘goat yoga emporium,’ down in the thicket.

“This fad is so new, I can make a ‘killing’ before too many others get in the game,” he panted.

Thoughts swirled; I scarce could take them in. Immediately, I thought of the long ago rendition of Tom T. Hall, whose song thrilled preschoolers 40-plus years ago. He gave advice with respect to what should be said to little baby goats. Youngsters loved it.

A few minutes later, I changed my tune. Mort explained how “goat yoga” classes are sweeping the nation mere months after the first one was offered in Oregon. “Goats have been handy to have around for mohair and milk for centuries,” Mort claimed. “Who would have dreamed they’d be good at yoga, too?”

He figures they’re going to be in high demand to help yoga enthusiasts reach relaxation states they never thought to be within reach.

I Googled “goat yoga,” and sure enough, Mort was “right on.” It is becoming a national rage. He figures if he’s going to offer classes, he’d best “get crackin’” on what he needs to know to teach. After all, he doubts if he should count on his goats to shoulder the whole load.

Mort has rarely made as much sense as he did that day. I decided to spend part of the weekend driving down to his country place to learn more about his project. As expected, his eyes danced with dollar marks.

I found myself nodding as he expounded. “Generally speaking, goats have gotten a bad rap, starting with the Bible,” he said. “We’ve been instructed to have more ‘sheep-like ways,’ sentencing goats to the ‘outside looking in’.”

He seemed saddened about negative views of goats, animals that are sure of foot, give us the mohair from their backs and milk from their udders.

Mort believes his rural setting will be perfect for yoga classes. “The only sounds here are from nature, except the rare times when lost motorists sit down on their horns, hopeful of being rescued (after admission to wives that the country road chosen 30 minutes ago perhaps isn’t a shortcut).

“When trees fall out in the pasture, I’m sure they wonder if any noise is made if there’s no one around to hear it,” he often says, wearing out a question posed decades ago.

My uncle, besides learning the “ins-and-outs” of yoga, is determined to “look the part,” as well as develop jargon to hasten acceptance by yoga devotees. Now, he’s buying limited gear, since he’s coaxing Maude to start weaving outfits from mohair for him and class members. “She’s ready to go, hoping to add some ‘mohair money’ to her milk jar.”

This day, I didn’t leave the thicket shaking my head. In fact, I even thought about what I’d do upon enrolling for such a class. An immediate question loomed: After contorting myself to the most favorable yoga position, do I instruct the goat regarding what to do next, or does it already know?

Rather than get cold feet, maybe I’ll commute down to Mort’s place if there’s a spot left in his first class. He’ll tell me what to do. (I’ll rely on Tom T. about what to say. I recall he said you “can’t go meow, cackle, quack to a goat. Remember, you have to say ‘baaa’.”)

Meanwhile, Mort prepares an order form for my gear. Here again, I won’t know how to put it on. Since Tom didn’t offer musical instructions, I’ll assume Mort will provide them. And, since I’ll be adorned in custom-made gear, I’m counting on Mort’s assurance there’ll be loose-fitting elastic around the middle.


   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.