The yoga mats stretch out on the ground. The class is in downward facing dog. You can hear the faint crackles and chirps of nature in Colorado. And then a tiny goat jumps onto your back with a “baa.”
This is goat yoga, and it’s a big thing in Boulder County.
Goat yoga classes are typically held in a barn or a field on a farm. They’re similar to a typical yoga class, except for a few details. Such as the goats wandering around the class, nibbling on your hair or shoes, chewing their cud and jumping on any platform they see, including people. You can find goat yoga classes throughout Colorado, but they’re especially big in Boulder County.
Other than the obvious reason why — goats are adorable and hilarious — adding livestock to a yoga class serves other purposes, too. Animals can be therapeutic. They bring a different, playful, lighthearted energy to the class, making it not too serious. In terms of yoga lessons, trying to hold tree pose while a little pigmy brushes up against your shin provides an opportunity to practice focusing and staying calm in an unpredictable environment.
And the concept brings people out to the farm who might otherwise not visit, giving them a glimpse into the Colorado agricultural community and raising awareness about its importance. Some goat yoga classes raise money for agricultural causes.
Beyond goat yoga, you can find other animal yoga classes, too. There’s yoga on horseback, alpaca yoga, puppy yoga and kitten yoga. The latter two have been with adoptable animals at the shelter, as a way to raise money for the shelter and also hopefully find some homeless animals a new family.
Goat yoga classes tend to fill up quickly and often have a waiting list. Some also include a tour of the farm afterward.
The Mother Ranch in Longmont offers goat yoga classes in a small barn on wood shavings — which will get in your hair and all over your clothes. (Worth it.) That’s not all that you need to know before attending a goat yoga session, says Julia MacMonagle, owner of the ranch.
“Goats are farm animals. They are not house-trained. Think eight-week-old puppy, but less gross,” she says.
Translation: You’re probably going to get some small round droppings on your mat. Or on your lap. The goats aren’t potty-trained; they’re farm animals.
Here are some other important things to consider before taking goat yoga, according to MacMonagle.
- Wear an old T-shirt over your regular yoga top. Goats have hooves. They are itty bitty but they are still hooves. If a goat jumps on your back, you’ll want a bit of protection.
- Be prepared to laugh.
- At The Mother Ranch (and many other classes), they let you keep your phone on you so you can take pictures. Classes tend to be a little more relaxed. They have to be.
- But be prepared for a real yoga class. You will get a workout.
- Unlike traditional yoga, you may choose to wear your shoes throughout. Definitely bring socks, as you probably won’t want to be barefoot.
- Expect to get a little dirty.
- Feel free to request a tour of the farm. You might get to meet other animals. The Mother Ranch is also home to horses, mini donkeys, chickens, sheep, lambs, border collies and livestock guardian dogs.
- Ask about the other things the farm offers, too. For example, The Mother Ranchalso offers Reiki with a horse, equine Gestalt coaching and Trauma Mama Coaching, for mothers who have children who survived a trauma. The ranch also offers the Shine girls’ empowerment program, a boys’ empowerment program, mother-daughter connection sessions, photography and horse boarding for retired horses.
- It’s typically requested you bring your own yoga mat and water. Some farms have mats you can borrow.
- Clean your mat when you get home. You can throw most mats in the washing machine.