Over the years, social media star and yoga instructor Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl) has posted scores of amazing photos of herself mid-vinyasa with her dogs, friends and husband. But nothing could have prepared the Internet for the cuteness of watching her pose with the baby rescue goat she received as a gift from her husband, Dennis Schonevel, on Christmas 2015.
“Her name is Penny Lane. She’s part of our pack,” says Brathen. And Penny Lane isn’t just any goat. She’s a baby mountain goat, which means she loves to climb everything — even Brathen, when she’s practicing challenging poses such as headstands.
“This is literally what my yoga practice looks like if she’s in the same room,” Brathen explains, referring to her social media videos. “She loves to climb, and will do it every chance she gets! She balances instinctively. The first time she was in the room with me, she climbed up on me while I was in downward dog. Every day, she got braver.”
And there are plenty of opportunities for Penny to do yoga with her human mom. Brathen has been practicing yoga for more than 10 years. The international yoga instructor and bestselling author of “Yoga Girl” now resides in Aruba, where she helps nearly 2 million social media followers around the world connect with the joys of the demanding physical and spiritual practice.
When they’re not doing yoga, Brathen and Penny spend time with the rest of their pack. Both pet lovers, Brathen and her husband recently founded Sgt. Pepper’s Friends, a small animal shelter on the coast of Aruba where they live.
Penny will climb on pretty much everything, but she especially loves to join Brathen during her personal yoga sessions. “I think there is extra fun in it for her when I'm on my yoga mat,” Brathen says. “She seems to really like the challenge of balancing on moving objects. I filmed the first video just to see if we could capture it for my audience and it was the easiest thing!” And the rest, as they say, is Internet history.
If, like us, you feel you’ll never reach such a state of grace (even without an adorable mountain goat using you for climbing practice), Brathen has a few pointers for arm balance poses.
“If you are scared of falling forward, try placing a folded up blanket or towel in front of you so you have something soft to fall into,” Brathen suggests. “And gaze forward! Dropping our gaze usually makes us tilt forward and fall.”
Penny Lane is nearly 6 months old now, and pictures and videos of her tip-toeing up Brathen’s spine or perching on her bottom are becoming rarer. “I don’t think it will continue much longer. She’s getting bigger by the day!” Brathen says.
One thing's for certain: The bar for super-cute “yoga + pet” videos has been raised impossibly high.