Weekend mornings are the most relaxing hours of the week. The sun shines, the birds chirp, and everything is quiet. It’s the perfect time to do yoga … with goats.
On Sunday Aug. 26, I went to a session of goat yoga at Harrison Farm in Groveport, OH. It was one of the coolest, weirdest things I’ve ever been a part of.
Katherine Harrison, the farm owner, hosts four sessions of yoga with goats each weekend (dates can be found on Harrison Farm’s Facebook page, under the events tab). There are two sessions on Saturdays and two on Sundays, and the cost is $20 per person. They’re currently on their third season, which usually runs from May to mid-October.
“The goats who come out for yoga are animals that for some reason are a little bit more human-friendly,” Harrison said. “So some of them were orphans, some of them had health issues where they needed humans to interact with them . . . we just bring out the animals who are more used to people.”
“But we never quite know what’s going to happen during the practice, because sometimes they can be very mellow and they can sit on your yoga mats and hang out with you,” she said. “Other times we have epic goat fights in the middle of yoga class.”
Harrison continued by saying that, since the animals are livestock, there may be body spills on yoga mats or other unpredictable situations, but her team is always ready to help make things right again and assist with everything you need.
“You need more bottled water? We’ve got plenty. If there’s a goat on your yoga mat that’s really preventing you from doing a pose, and you’d like to scoot it away, we are so happy to do that for you,” she said.
“These yoga classes are so good for my heart because I see people that care about farming, and care about local businesses, and I wanna make sure that I fully express my gratitude,” Harrison said.
Dana Bernstein, the yoga instructor, has been teaching the class since the beginning.
“It’s a distracting situation to teach yoga in,” Bernstein said. “But like, I’ve kind of adapted to that because there’s always lots going on with the animals, like even the chickens and goats, and everybody’s got something going on.”
Bernstein said that the goats’ and the humans’ actions are dependent on each other. “If the goats are hyper, the humans might be as well, so it’s just kind of feeling into it and not really expecting anything,” she said.
For the most part, she said people handle the situation well. “Most of the people that sign up are like, ‘Yes, this is something I wanna do, I’m into this weird-ness!’ And then we get friends of the other people that are maybe a little bit more dubious of the situation, but I think they turn around by the end of class because they see that the goats are super snuggly and they love attention and there is actually yoga happening.”
“The goats all have personalities just like dogs or cats … they all have different tendencies,” Bernstein said. Some goats like to lay on mats, some drift between the people doing yoga, and others seemed to huddle towards the front of the group.
Harrison farm has more than just goats, however. During yoga, there were cats roaming around and even a few ducks (and lots of chickens). They also have four alpacas, two of which I got to feed Fig Newtons to after the yoga class.