Tag Archives: Chanell Jaramillo

Have you Herd of the Goat Yoga Craze?

October 24, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Megan Roth sits cross-legged on her mat in black shorts, a white tank, and a blue baseball hat with the words “Live Simply” etched into the front.

“We know why you are here and it’s not because of me,” Roth announces, a certified yoga instructor with Simplicity Wellness Yoga + More. 

Roth begins with gentle neck circles, side stretches, and cat-cow poses. 

One participant, Roca, is ignoring all the commands. Instead of downward dog, he unzips a lady’s jacket, pulls it back up, and zips it down again. Up. Down. Roca loses interest and mischievously jumps on someone planking. His bewhiskered mother, Almond, would not approve of the kid’s behavior. 

Welcome to yoga with goats and sheep, where four-leggeds and two-leggeds find inner peace together. Or something like that. 

Roca’s sister, Joy, seems more concerned with sucking shoelaces, hair, and fingers than nailing a perfect seated twist. Two lambs, Cottontail and Toast, snuggle next to human yoga participants. Freckles begs for some chin scratches. Another little goat lays across someone’s neck like a soft scarf. 

Instead of deep breathing, goats bleat and sheep baa from the al fresco “studio,” scented by pine trees and fresh farm air. It’s not a traditional yoga studio. It’s actually the lush pasture at Doe’s & Diva’s Dairy in Honey Creek, Iowa.

Yoga has been touted for its mental, physical, and emotional health benefits. Throw in some farm animals and it is a shot to the endorphins.

“Like triple the endorphins,” Roth says. 

This could be why goat yoga is the hottest trend sweeping the nation. Starting in 2016, the format is the brainchild of Oregon’s Lainey Morse, who believed goats turned her depression around. Goat yoga isn’t about sweating it out and going all hardcore, but rather a cuddly mood lifter. 

Roth has seen even the most cynical man melt at the sight of the brown, white, and black baby goats looking for a little attention. 

“I love seeing how everyone lights up like 5-year-olds at Disney World,” Roth adds.

On a whim, Janna Feldman posted a photo with two baby goats on the Facebook page for Doe’s & Diva’s Dairy in January: “Thinking of offering baby lamb and baby goat yoga sessions.” The online feedback was encouraging, so she began looking into making it a reality.

When Feldman reached out to discuss a collaboration, Roth felt it was a win-win. Feldman wanted to socialize her kids and ewes, who tended to be leery of humans. Although bottle fed, they still weren’t used to leaping on a stand for milking. Curiosity almost always takes over the little ones in a pasture with colorful mats and yogis. It’s an easy way to get them accustomed to being handled and touched.

The dairy’s sheep and goat yoga classes began in spring 2018. Independent of the classes at Doe’s & Diva’s, a neighboring dairy in Honey Creek (Honey Creek Creamery) also offered goat yoga classes with five different yoga instructors during the initial spring 2018 season.

Rebekah Lowe, 35, joined a class at Doe’s & Diva’s to get centered in the midst of cuddly baby barnyard animals. But her shy lamb kept escaping back to the owner. 

“Half the time I tried to get selfies [with the goats], and the other half I did some yoga,” Lowe says. 

The 70-year-old dairy owner, Feldman, believes another benefit is just being outside the city limits. Doe’s & Diva’s is located roughly 20 minutes north of Omaha in western Iowa.

Feldman realized this potential on a stressful day when she just sat in the middle of her pasture. The does (another word for a female goat), her divas (the nickname Feldman uses for the ewes), dog, and cats came up to her one by one to offer comfort. Even though it was only 10 minutes, she felt ready to take on the world again. 

“It’s restorative. It’s peaceful. It’s beautiful,” Feldman says. 

The slow-moving rural life fits with mindful workouts like yoga. Feldman hasn’t joined a session yet due to a hip injury, but she stays plenty busy running around making cheese from “her girls.” People can taste the tangy samples once the class is finished (or they can sign up to take a cheese-making class). 

Feldman started the dairy farm in 2005 with her husband when they discovered their daughter was lactose intolerant. Now she milks 30 sheep and 18 goats twice a day. 

“The cheese is so good. I was very surprised,” Lowe says. Goat and sheep milk contains lactose but is easier for humans to digest than cows’ milk.

The real stars of the hour show are the goats, with their big personalities, and the sweet lambs. People laugh while doing some gentle yoga, close to the ground. Goats do like to stand on some people, but only weigh about 5-10 pounds, so it feels more like a Swedish massage on the back. And they love to chew on just about anything, but have no top teeth. Sure, some do occasionally urinate on a mat, but it’s all about the experience. 

It isn’t for everyone. Classes in April and May coincide with kidding season. Weather could range anywhere from bitterly cold to steamy hot or somewhere in the middle. The cost is $20 for one session at Doe’s & Diva’s. 

Chanell Jaramillo, the owner of Transpersonal Health and Simplicity Wellness Yoga + More, grew up around goats on her aunt’s farm. As a child, she saw ornery, older adult goats butting heads. When the idea came up, Jaramillo “wasn’t super-psyched,” but she had no qualms with the proposed collaboration so long as Roth led the classes. 

Jaramillo opened her studio in January, only a few months before Doe’s and Diva’s inquired about goat yoga. Then, after the success of the dairy sessions, the Florence Home Healthcare Center reached out to discuss a fundraiser for launching an adaptive yoga program at the senior facility.

Jaramillo, who has a Ph.D. in psychology (her dissertation examined yoga as a healing modality for individuals with autoimmune diseases), noticed no one in town was offering adaptive yoga. She started by partnering with Quality Living Inc. to help rehabilitation patients recover from spinal injuries
in 2014. 

Repetitive motions and rhythms allow those with brain injuries or those confined to small spaces to be present in the moment, to expand and breathe. She figured that such an adaptive program would help upgrade services at the Florence Home for seniors who had cardio and pulmonary issues, dementia, or limited mobility. 

Incorporating the goats into a fundraiser yoga session at the Florence Home helped provide the financing to get the center’s new yoga program up and running. 

Roth, the goat yoga instructor/advocate on Jaramillo’s team, was out of town the day of the fundraiser (May 23). So Jaramillo had to take on herding duties.

With help from Priscilla Russell, another yoga instructor, Jaramillo took two baby goats and a lamb over to the Florence Home in dog crates on a hot and humid day. About 60 people came out with mats or towels for two 30-minute sessions, raising about $500. Since then, adaptive yoga has become part of the Florence Home’s regular schedule for one hour every week, helping participants with anxiety and mood.

Goats were just there for the initial fundraiser to generate public interest; however, Jaramillo says they will be bringing baby goats back to the facility in April 2019 when the kids are still tiny.

She is passionate about teaching anyone yoga, but she sees something special in nuzzle-friendly goat yoga classes.

“The reaction is always the same,” Jaramillo says. “Pure joy.”

Visit doesanddivas.com for more information about the Iowa dairy hosting goat yoga in the spring. 

Visit omahaseniorcare.org/florence-home-healthcare-center for more information about the Florence Home.

True Colors

August 19, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Chanell Jaramillo helps people discover their true colors—just as she once sought to divine her own.

Gifted with vision and intuition that transcended her childhood in a hardscrabble neighborhood of Yuma, Arizona, she later revived those abilities to make another great escape. She transformed herself from an ill, overworked executive to a healer, surrounding herself in the safe, centered haven of her ultimate truth.

“Life experiences are teachings,” says Jaramillo. “You can look at them as challenges and get stuck in your circumstance, or, you can see them as lessons and allow them to take you to a place of wisdom.”

Channell1Jaramillo is a solution-focused holistic health practitioner with a Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology, a school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience within the framework of modern psychology. She employs that philosophy in guiding her clients toward their own personal truth and optimum path. Working primarily as a transformational life coach from her Omaha Healing Arts Center office, Jaramillo skillfully walks the line between analysis and intuition, academic knowledge and life-learned wisdom, fact-based theory and gut-based truth.       

Jaramillo first adjudicates clients with her Biopulsar, a biomedical measuring device that’s one of just 300 in the U.S. It reads energy from the hand’s 49 reflex zones—each correlating to an organ or gland in the body—to produce a uniquely kaleidoscopic aura scan portrait, bursting with colors from the chakras, or spirit centers in the body. Jaramillo interprets these colors, from red for basic trust to violet for spirituality, to determine distressed bodily areas.

Someone needing more white in her life may need to unblock the heart center. A client needing more turquoise can use something as simple as a coffee cup to visually help open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word.

Jaramillo then provides clients a customized healing regimen, which can include lifestyle and diet changes, yoga, energy work, massage, and other forms of therapy.        

“In real time, [the Biopulsar] measures your consciousness—what you’re feeling and thinking,” says Jaramillo, adding that thoughts have relationships throughout the body that are able to create holding patterns and can cause physical problems. “It’s used medically for preventative health in Europe and Asia because it shows if a thought has manifested yet at a physical level or if it’s still within your auric field.”

Channell3Before Jaramillo could heal others, she had to find her own path to healing and happiness.   

Years ago, while navigating 70-hour workweeks as an executive for a large Southern California resort and winery, Jaramillo became extremely ill. A chorus of doctors chimed in with various theories, yet none could explain why she was sick.     

“I started balancing my work/life better and changed my entire outlook,” says Jaramillo, who, on the heels of a profound awakening, found herself intuitively guided toward lifestyle adjustments that ultimately healed her where prescription medicine had failed.

Striving to make sense of her experience led Jaramillo down a path resulting in a vocational calling to return to husband Chris Basilevac’s native Omaha and work as a holistic healer.     

“I kept having dreams guiding me back to Omaha to work in the spiritual field. At first I thought, ‘Uh, Universe, I think you have your coordinates wrong,’” says Jaramillo. But the call persisted, so she decided to “just trust and follow the breadcrumbs.”

The leap paid off, and Jaramillo now embodies the tradition of her great-grandmother, a curandera, which means “healer” in Spanish.

“I’ve always admired the idea of the crone, the wise old woman, which isn’t honored in our society today,” she says. “I want to be that wise old crone someday, who people can look to knowing that I speak from the experience of living life, learning from mistakes, and growing. Maybe that’s how I ended up doing this work, trying to return to a tradition our culture’s lost.” Encounter

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