Kidding Around with Jenness Farm's Goat Yoga

The Nottingham spot is adding some "baa" to your "ohm"

Courtesy photo

Let’s just get the obvious question out of the way: What, you might be wondering, is “goat yoga” — and how, exactly, is it different from the downward-facing dog variety most of us are already familiar with?

“Oh my goodness, it’s just constant laughter,” says Peter Corriveau, whose farm found itself flooded with Facebook likes, interview requests and national media attention after one simple post advertising its plans to start its own classes.

In many ways, goat yoga has all the basics of any typical yoga class. There’s a professional instructor who leads you through a series of stretches and poses and breathing exercises. Typical — but for the fact that you’re also joined by a gang of tiny (bouncy) baby goats prancing around the room (or onto you) throughout the practice.

“Everyone loves baby goats,” Corriveau says, “and I think it takes away any self-conscious feelings anyone has that they’re not flexible or not athletic or how they may physically appear, and they don’t have to feel like the attention is on them.”

“This certainly wasn’t our unique idea,” he adds, noting Jenness Farm was inspired to bring the classes to New Hampshire after reading about these classes already being offered in other states. For a farm that’s long been in the business of raising goats and producing, per its website, 90 varieties of “amazing goat milk soaps with the milk from our pampered herd of dairy goats,” it seemed a perfect fit.

Jenness, by the way, is a “no kill” farm. The many products are made with goat milk, but no goats are raised for slaughter, so finding the goats was the easy part — the farm raises them year-round. In this case, the debut cast of characters were tiny but seemingly up for the challenge: Tula, Lily, Lotus, Zinnia and Poppy, each less than 10 weeks old.

After finding a willing yoga instructor, Corriveau says the team at the farm invited a group into their storefront for a few trial runs, then posted a few photos to the farm’s Facebook page.

In an age where the appetite for adorable baby animal content is perhaps more voracious than ever, it was only a matter of time before the whole thing went viral: They went from roughly 5,000 followers to around 50,000 in about a week. Soon, they got plenty of local press but also write-ups from the likes of People, The Daily Mail, Mashable and The New York Post. Demand for more yoga classes, not to mention the farm’s existing line of goat milk body care offerings, has ballooned.

It’s all been a lot to balance, to say the least. Now, in addition to the business of running the farm, Corriveau’s also called in as an extra caretaker standing watch during classes — “ready to take care of any needs that might arise,” whether they be an errant animal or, for lack of a better phrase, a “toileting accident.” Due to the outpouring of interest — which attracted a waiting list of some 300 or more — the farm’s extended these once-experimental classes to run on a regular basis into the summer.

All the while, Corriveau has yet to actually get on the yoga mat himself. He thinks he probably will eventually, but for now he has his hands full just keeping the fun — and his farm — running so others can keep kidding around.

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