Yoga with Goats gives a whole new meaning to exercising with the “kids” around! Michelle Aulson and the Goats to Go crew have teamed up with local yoga instructors, Jana Olenio with SUP-Yo and Christina Nice of Amesbury, to host Yoga with Goats at Great Rock Farm in Georgetown.
Get ready to hold your tree pose or downward facing dog, while the kids (baby goats) roam around your mats, jump on you or nibble at you. “Seated Goat Snuggle” is also offered if you are not into yoga, but still want to interact and learn about baby goats.
Aulson said she came up with the idea about a year ago, but couldn’t implement it until this summer as she was living in Washington D.C. at the time.
’I moved back (to Georgetown) this past winter,” Aulson explained, “and decided I would try goat yoga with our adorable myotonic (a.k.a. fainting) goats and Nigerian dwarfs goats in the spring. We have 35 baby goats that were mostly born in March 2017 and a few born in Jan 2017.”
Goats to Go takes their goats to Florida in the winter for vacation and to give birth. Aulson’s plan was to host a “one-time homecoming event,” but it has turned into summer full of yoga and fun until the ‘kids’ head back south in the fall.
Aulson said the theory behind mixing yoga with kids is that “goat kids are just plain fun and curious creatures. It takes additional concentration to do your pose and be mindful of not only your neighbor, but also of the kid that may be lingering near you. Goats love to be playful and jump on things. It’s just what they do. So if a person is there, well, they jump and play on them!
“The yoga instructors have their own style, and it’s great to watch them teach while the students get distracted with the baby goats nibbling on them or coming onto their mats while they move through poses,” Aulson said. “We are adding a couple other instructors. Neither of the instructors have taught with animals before, but say they love doing it.”
When asked if there were any yoga poses the young goats prefer, she has this to say: “The best position people like to get pictures with is bridge. We had one girl who was able to move from plank to downward dog with the goat staying on her backside. It was so adorable!
Event: “Slippery clothes seem to be a problem for the goats because they slide off. I personality think tree stand while holding the goats makes a cool picture for a group,” Aulson said. “As the goats get better at it, they are surprising me on which yoga poses they’re participating in.”
Aulson said that the kids will leave some “pebbles” behind when they visit the yoga mats, but people just shake them them off.
“The real fun to me,” she said, “is the smiles on peoples’ faces when they hold and snuggle with the goats. The kids get attached to whomever they are with. The goats are not trained for this, they just naturally take to people.
“Each week they have gotten more curious and really love the interaction during the classes. We had this one little triplet white goat that was shy, kind of quiet and kept to himself. He has become the star of goat yoga because he is so gentle and cuddly. His whole personality has changed since he started yoga and is a happier goat because of it!”
Classes are held at Great Rock Farm on Pond Street in Georgetown. Depending on weather and bugs, classes will either be in a grass setting on the farm or in the barn on hardwood flooring.
Classes are limited to 30 participants and cost $25 per person. You should come prepared with water, insect repellent, sunglasses, a mat and towel. You can find out more about Yoga with Goats, schedules and locations at their website goatstogo.farm/events or on their Facebook page, facebook.com/Goats2GO.
“If you haven’t tried our goat yoga with the baby kids, it’s a must-do,” Aulson said. “It gives you an opportunity to cuddle with adorable and playful goat kids while getting some exercise outside your everyday life on a beautiful, private farm surrounded by all the barnyard sounds.”