The first rule of goat yoga: tuck in anything lose because the goats love to chew on whatever they can get their mouths on.
Second rule: if you have a goat on your mat, don’t feel like you actually have to follow the yoga.
Jenness Farm in Nottingham, just a 15-minute drive from campus, has been hosting “Goat Yoga” since 2017. Originally the class was held in the Jenness Farm shop, which is filled with soaps, balms and handcrafted goods, before it opened up to the public. To keep up with the demand, however, owner Peter Corriveau built a yoga studio on top of the shop. The session on October 13 held about 10 people. The first thing you notice when you walk into the studio is the yoga mats with floral and coral designs on them. Upon closer inspection, however, you can see they’re not designs but rather areas that the baby goats have grazed.
While you get settled, five baby goats are bought upstairs to the studio. The yoga instructor explained that sometimes, the goats are bouncing off the walls, and other times, they just want to snuggle.
“They all have different personalities, just like you and me,” she explained.
The yoga class is open to all levels of yogis, but what I loved was how absolutely low stress the environment was. Every other yoga class I’ve been to, I always find myself looking around to see if I’m doing poses correctly (I’m usually not) and I leave feeling sweaty and lightheaded. This hour-long class, however, took away all that stress. All the movements were slow and steady, focusing on deep breathing. There was no complicated routine to tumble through; the instructor took the class one pose at a time. People were also welcome to just sit on their mat with a goat if they needed a break.
Another aspect of the class that helps break down traditional yoga barriers is the almost constant giggling throughout the lesson. Someone seems to always have a goat on their back, on their mat or chewing on part of their clothing. Another member of the Jenness Farm staff is on hand to help with any “accidents” the babies may have (Jenness Farm warned us to bring a second set of clothes).
Even when a goat had an accident, however, people were laughing and smiling. If the goats weren’t doing yoga with people they were running around head-butting and playing with each other; you couldn’t help but smile while you watched them.
The five goats that joined the class were Sugar, Spice, Juniper, Birdie and MaryAnn. Their energy could be described as “toddlers at gymnastics.” All throughout the class we heard hooves on the wooden floor and “baahh-ing” when they needed a pet. While I was in the tabletop position the goats seemed to like walking under me or through my arms and legs.
After the class was over, yogis were welcome to hang around and snap a few photos, which most of the goats seemed happy to pose for. Some picked up the goats and held them like a baby, some took photos of just the babies, leaving all the yoga behind, and others waited in tabletop or child’s pose to see if a goat would hop up for the perfect photo.
While the main focus of the farm is goats, an array of animals can be found there including chickens, turkeys, ducks, dogs, ponies, sheep and even some peacocks.
Jenness Farm is located at 77 Garland Rd. in Nottingham. The full goat yoga class schedule can be found at jennessfarm.com/calendar and the price for a class is $26. For private instruction contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Farm hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. And before you go, make sure to tie up your hair to avoid a baby goat haircut.