Updated: Sep 13, 2020
I do not remember when I first heard about Goat Yoga, but once I became a Yoga Instructor and was thinking about different Yoga Classes I could teach, I realized that Goat Yoga would be an incredible opportunity for me. I had not heard about any Goat Yoga in the area and I absolutely love animals, so I knew this would be an excellent fit.
Side Plank on Hay with Goats
I immediately posted to Prince Edward County Facebook groups asking if anyone knew of any farms in the area with miniature goats. I was referred to OnceUponA Farm near Lake on the Mountain, Prince Edward County. I immediately knew which farm this was as they also run a small shop for tires, and this is where I had purchased my winter tires in 2016. I quickly contacted the farm owner and we set up a day and time for me to come out to meet the goats and discuss details.
Goat Yoga on the Farm
The first time I went out to see the goats, I instantly fell in love. They were so gentle and calm, and I felt increasingly calm and connected to myself during my time at the farm. It became clear to me that this was meant to be because the farm owner had been looking for goat activities to host in the summer. She was planning on moving the goats to the front of the farm, so we discussed the areas we would run the goat yoga and further details of how we would run the classes.
Warrior 3 with Goats
The planning stages began in February. The farm owner was not going to have the goats moved to the front of the farm until mid-June due to frozen terrain, so we planned to run classes starting late June. In March we had a photo shoot in the back of the farm with the goats and pigs for promotional materials. I was so excited for these classes that I planned to run them at least four days per week. Everything was running smoothly as planned, and then the world-wide lock down hit mid-March. At that point, neither I nor the farm owner knew whether we would even be able to run our classes at all. We left everything on pause until we heard Ontario’s plan to slowly re-open the economy in stages. After researching the staging plans, we were confident that we would be able to run our classes in a socially distant fashion. We capped classes at 10 participants and provided gloves and hand sanitizer to all participants as they entered the Goat Yoga zone. We also determined through research that the virus was highly unlikely to transfer on animal fur.
Cobra Pose with My Favourite Goat
I decided to start with one class per week, with the hopes that it would gain in popularity and we could add more classes throughout the week. I also made a point to have some time slots open for private Goat Yoga Classes.
I began promoting Goat Yoga classes as soon as the decision to finally run (based on the Ontario re-opening plans) was made. I created posters and post cards to hang and hand out to stores and temporary rental units. The farm owner and I promoted on Social Media as well as on websites designated to local businesses and events. I even promoted Goat Yoga with a Toronto-based travel agency.
First Goat Yoga Class
The first Goat Yoga With Mikenze class ran on Saturday, July 4 with two participants. Both participants were students from my online classes. Another student of mine came out to take some photos, and she amazed both the farm owner and I with her eye. She got some fantastic shots of the day. The students enjoyed the class thoroughly, even with sweat running down their faces. It was a steaming hot day, and the goats were feeling it as well. I realized that day that I needed to give extra breaks for water and take a few extra child’s poses than I would for my online classes. I also decided to make the flow a little different than my online flows, focusing more on stretching and fun poses, as opposed to strength building poses, such as core work.
First & Second Goat Yoga Classes
The second class had to be postponed to the following week due to weather. But the class ran the next Saturday, and that one ran with five tourists who had signed up online. That was my sign that the classes were only going to grow from there. It was another smoking hot day with no shade for relief, but the goats were very intrigued by the participants and we were even joined by a frog! The students enjoyed the class and spent some time with the goats afterward. They later followed me on Instagram and sent me the photos they had taken during and after the class.
The next scheduled Goat Yoga class did not run unfortunately as no one had signed up, but I had a special request to run a class that Sunday for one participants’ birthday. The farm owner agreed to this time slot, so I opened the class up to the public. One of my online students decided to join us and the class ran without a hitch. It was another sticky, hot day but the participants were thoroughly entertained by the goats and made sure to feel their bellies for kid kicks and movement. Before they headed out for their day adventure in Prince Edward County, we took a few photos of the group. I was unable to secure a photographer for this class, but they sent me the few photos they had captured during and after the class.
Birthday Yoga Class
Ontario transitioned into Phase 3 of its reopening plan near the end of July, so I lifted the 10-participant cap but continued to practice in a socially distant fashion. July was a successful month, and August is set to be even more so, as the first weekend of August was already almost fully booked, and people were signing up for classes daily. The farm owner and I already began to discuss the following year and some changes we would make to the area. As the pregnant mama goats head to the maternity ward of the farm, we Yogis gear up to play with the kids once they are allowed to join us for classes in mid-August.
To be continued….