By Jackeline Lizama
You won’t believe this workout until you see it. Goat yoga is the latest exercise trend that everyone wants to be a part of, especially yoga enthusiasts.
On the weekends, people line up at a farm with mats in hand, ready to start their yoga class. Except, this class won’t start until the Nigerian Dwarf goats walk in. No, the goats don’t actually do yoga but they do a few stretches that look like they are.
From the moment you step onto the Hux Family Farm in Durham, you can hear the sounds of ducks quacking, horses neighing and sheep bleating. You will even see bunnies that are so fluffy they look like cotton balls with a hidden face.
As people pass the entry gate, goats crowd around and stare at them with their beady eyes, wondering what or who just entered into their domain. They will continue to sniff anyone, anywhere, searching for food.
The Nigerian Dwarf goats are a friendly miniature goat breed. This is their way of welcoming newcomers, even if it does come off somewhat strange.
The goats and sheep are free to roam around the guests. Not to mention, other goats eating, cuddling and jumping around. It only takes a few seconds before they forget you’re there and move on to the next person, and the entire cycle of welcoming starts over.
Is goat yoga really a thing? What are people saying?
The first time Sophie Davis, a student from North Carolina State University, did yoga at the farm one of the goats kept jumping.
“It would get like two feet in the air to get on top of you,” Davis said. “It was so cute.”
Davis has participated in the goat yoga class three times and is now looking to work at the farm with the goats.
With these goats you never know what to expect, one moment they’re taking a nap and the next they’re running around with pieces of carrot in their mouths.
“I think they are hyper for like ten minutes at a time and then they’re like goodnight,” Davis said.
The class is like no other. Half the class is doing yoga poses while the other half is laughing so hard they can hardly keep their balance. The goats will run between people’s legs, chew on their hair and even climb on their back to cuddle and take a short nap.
OK, but how did an idea like this even get started in the first place?
Farm owner, Matthew Hux, says he and his wife have had the farm for nearly four years and got the goats as part of their homestead. They primarily raised the goats for dairy and used the milk to make cheese, yogurt and even ice cream until they realized the goats had a lot more to offer.
“We ended up having really friendly goats…so we wanted to share that with people,” Hux said. “We heard about goat yoga in Oregon and we decided to try it out.”
The idea of goat yoga came from a woman in Albany, Oregon, named Lainey Morse. She started doing therapy with her goats after a recent divorce and illness. Morse found the goats to be therapeutic and soon began her own goat yoga classes.
Goat yoga has since snowballed into a global sensation with classes starting everywhere, including Hux Family Farm.
Amanda Hux, Matthew’s wife, started her own meditation with the goats and saw a video of goat yoga being done in several other places.
“I was like ‘Oh! We can do that, too!’” Hux said. “So that’s why we started this.”
The first three goat yoga classes filled up immediately and were a success, so Hux and his wife decided to keep the classes going. Participants are so fascinated by the goats they cannot help but laugh when a goat stands on their back as they do a Downward-Facing Dog. The classes are held nearly every Saturday and Sunday, and cost $20 for an hour of fun.
The most recent addition to the farm family includes two baby goats, Blaze and Maverick. These goat babies will come out with their tiny wagging tails. At first, these miniature animals look like they have no control over their legs since they won’t ever stop jumping, but that’s how every goat is as a baby.
From the moment the goats are born, they get completely accustomed to the people who treat and handle them. Once the goats are older and exposed to different people they will remain calm.
Goat yoga is more than stretching muscles and petting goats, it provides therapy to those who least expect it. In other words, it’s just plain happiness. Jeff Zimmerman, one of the yoga participants, said he came to the class after his wife had seen the event on Facebook and encouraged him to go with her.
“It was a little odd having a goat on me, but it was a lot of fun.” said Zimmerman. “We had a good time.”
If goat yoga isn’t surprising enough, there’s more
Hux Family Farm doesn’t limit itself to just yoga, it also offers classes of meditation and therapy with goats. “We’re also working on getting our horses to therapy status. Then we can help and engage with everybody.” Matthew Hux said. “That is our main mission here.”
Once the yoga class is over, everyone plays and takes selfies with the goats. Even if people don’t want to participate in the yoga, it can still be lots of fun to watch.
The best part of this unique experience is that the goats are completely unaware of how happy they make people. As everyone walked out of the farm, they all left with smiles on their faces and waved goodbye to their furry, four-legged friends.
Edited by Brittney Robinson