Are you kidding me? It's goat yoga
GREENCASTLE, Pa. — A series of yoga classes are giving a new meaning to hanging around with a bunch of kids.
Introduced in 2016, the goat yoga craze has been sweeping across farms across the nation giving agribusiness a new place to venture — yoga.
Charlie Rockwell, owner of Rockwell Horse and Goat Farm off Cool Hollow Road in Greencastle, saw some online videos about goat yoga after purchasing the farm in July 2017.
“They talked about how therapeutic it was for people,” Rockwell said of the videos. “I like goats, and my children wanted goats and I kind of felt like everything had fallen in line that we should do goat yoga. It was just something that would benefit the community.”
This weekend, Rockwell will launch the first of a series of goat yoga events throughout the spring and summer. He has hired two certified yoga teachers and members of Yoga Alliance, Sandra Bassin of Mercersburg, Pa., who has her own studio, Yoga Blend, as well as Lindsay Roe of Hagerstown, who teaches at several locations.
Bassin will teach from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 14, while Roe will teach from 1: 30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at Cool Hollow Goat Farm, what they’re calling the farm for this event.
Neither yoga teacher had prior goat yoga experience, but they decided to join Rockwell.
But first, he needed goats. Rockwell has Nigeria dwarf goats that are still kids — from about 8 weeks to 14 weeks old and Rockwell said “they’re playful and curious about people.”
“They’re a smaller dairy breed of goats,” he said. “We wanted a goat that had a good nature and a good temper, and they’d be gentle.”
Rockwell, who has done some yoga but never goat yoga, hopes that this will be a new experience for everyone involved. Each session costs $20. People can register online at Eventbrite.com. The hour-long sessions will take place out in the open gated fields where people will follow along one of the teachers while the goats do what goats do.
Bassin said she admits that she’s not sure what she’s getting into, but has been studying YouTube videos to figure how how she wants to incorporate the poses with the goats, who have a mind of their own.
But Bassin, who became a teacher after battling breast cancer, said there are so many benefits of yoga including “mental health, physical health and it allows you to stretch, become more flexible, more strong, allows you focus. While you’re doing yoga, you’re actually pausing the aging mechanism in the brain. After you leave a session of yoga, you’re feeling very peaceful.”
She said these sessions are open up to anyone — regardless of experience.
Participants, she said, should try it “for a lark, for fun, to try something new, to take advantage of this beautiful life we have and so brief and have an enjoyable time in nature with animals.”
Roe said she had heard once about goat yoga on a podcast, but didn’t really give it a second thought until Rockwell called her.
“I’m looking forward to all the smiles on people’s faces, and people getting out of their heads a little bit,” she said. “Sometimes people are trying to keep themselves from falling over or keep themselves in a yoga pose, I ‘m looking forward to people taking a step back and putting a smile on their faces.”
As for what she plans to teach that day, Roe said she’ll probably do a lot of standing poses, but allow for what the day leads, a believe that keeps with the simple ideals of yoga.
“I love that it keeps you in the present moment,” she said of yoga. “It’s hard to let your mind wander too much when you’re in certain poses. It incorporates your whole body from head to toe.”
Roe said she’s excited to interact with the goats.
“I want to see how see outgoing and friendly they’ll be with us,” she said. “I want to see if they’ll mimic some of the poses. or climb on people’s backs and how people will tolerate that.”
As for what to experience that day, Roe isn’t sure herself.
“ This is new to me as well. I’ve never taken a goat yoga class,” she said. “I just want to experience something new and be with the goats and enjoy the great outdoors.”
Rockwell said he hopes this also exposes farm living to those who are taking the class.
“I hope they’re going to enjoy the goats. We wanted to give people an experience on the farm with farm animals,” he said. “We wanted them to enjoy the farm animals. We wanted to draw people to yoga that might not traditionally go to yoga class.”
Top photo: Sandra Bassin, a certified yoga teacher from Mercersburg, Pa., holds Daisy one of the Nigeria dwarf goats that will be used in goat yoga. She will be leading one of the classes at Cool Hollow Goat Yoga, off Cool Hollow Road in Greencastle, Pa. (Photo by Crystal Schelle)