Yoga with llamas offered at Grand Hyatt Vail

The Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail is bringing the lovable mountain animal to the mat

Move over goats, llama yoga is now a thing.

In the past several years, yoga with goats, dogs, cats, even yoga with rabbits has been the craze to help get your namaste on, but now it’s time for “Llama-ste” at the Grand Hyatt Vail.

On June 21, the Summer Solstice and International Yoga Day, the Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail hosted the first of hopefully more classes on the lawn between the property and Gore Creek. The local talent were Roberto and Trace, two llamas from Paragon Guides, a Vail Valley-based tour company that has been trekking with llamas for decades.

“We know that Paragon Guides has been up here for a number of years and I got the opportunity to go on one of their Take a Llama to Lunch hikes which was really fun and then I made the connection and thought, why not create Llamaste and bring out the llamas for a yoga class? The llamas have a real calming presence, they’re fun to be around and I think everyone’s felt a heightened sense of energy here this morning. It’s something unique and different,” said Cody Worden, director of sales and marketing at Grand Hyatt Vail, as about a dozen people started rolling out their mats and meeting these large animals in the Grand Hyatt Vail’s backyard.

Will Elliott, owner of Paragon Guides said they’ve brought their llamas to weddings and other private events, but this was the first he’d heard of llama yoga.

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“We’ve never had this request before, but I decided to jump at this opportunity. We do a lot of things from private hikes to birthday parties but Llamaste is a new one for us and we’re excited to be here,” Elliott said.

The llamas are very calm and curious animals and made for a fun addition to the outdoor yoga class at Grand Hyatt Vail on June 21.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy photo

Elliott said llamas are very calming and they have a very present state of mind, are acutely aware of their surroundings and are great mountain animals.

“They seem more like a cat than a dog and they want to please you and they are not going to be rambunctious or anything, they will follow you around. Roberto and Trace are both male llamas in their late teens, 18 years old, and the average life expectancy of a llama is in the early 20s. These guys are now enjoying retirement. They’ve trekked all over this area and Rocky Mountain National Park and have been from here to Aspen many times,” Elliott said.

Yoga instructor J.P. Alvarez was game to try leading the class, too, even though he had no prior experience with llamas.

“When they asked me, I said ‘absolutely I’d love to do it!’ And, then I thought, ‘wow the llamas are big animals,’ but then I decided we’d try Llamaste. This is the first time I’ve ever done a class with animals being a part of it,” Alvarez said.

The llamas used for the Llamaste event were from Paragon Guides, a local outfitter that does llama trekking throughout the region.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy photo

Everyone seemed excited to try it and even though it was a full-length yoga class, the activities of the llamas did steal the show. There was lots of giggling and petting the llamas, several selfies were taken and yoga poses maybe weren’t held as long because participants wanted to look up and see what the llamas were doing. Sara Jane Diaz was staying at the hotel and learned about the yoga class with llamas upon check in.

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“I love yoga and I’ve never done it with llamas, I’ve heard of goat yoga and always wanted to do that, so I was excited we got to do this today. I have never been around them before, but they are so docile and it was fun to have them incorporated into this class,” Diaz said.

Lots of selfies were taken with the llamas from Paragon Guides during the “Llama-ste” event at Grand Hyatt Vail.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy photo

“We’re really big on wellness and we’re always looking for something new along those lines and we thought that the llamas would be a real cool addition to yoga and some of the wellness activities we have going on here,” Worden said.

The Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail hopes to host Llamaste once a month from now through September. The next classes will be held on July 22, Aug. 19 and Sept. 23 and the classes will start at 3 p.m. For more information, call the Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail at 970-476-1234.

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