Under a hot, clear sky, we shift from Tabletop pose to Downward Dog. Pikes Peak is shrouded in a bluish haze above the neighborhood near Goat Patch Brewery. Between the yoga instructor’s directions, random baahs and maahs echo. Everyone laughs. No one cares about the blazing sun or what yoga pose we’re in. We’re all here for one thing: baby goats.
The kids, Nigerian dwarf and Nubian crosses, wander around the playground of the Lincoln Center and play with their new toys: people. Half the class is in various stages of yoga poses, while the other half crouches to goat level and beckon the goats to them. Many stay in Tabletop, aka “goat position,” to tempt curious goats to hop on their backs.
For Jimmy Naron, owner of Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga, goat yoga is more than just a trend. For all its quirkiness, goat yoga fosters positive experiences with animals, he says. “[We’re] trying to make people happy.”
Happiness is the day’s theme, as the instructor, Melissa Kelley, reminds us to pet the goats and smile. Kelley wraps her arms under a cocoa-colored goat and scoops him up for Tree pose, urging us to follow her lead. Some goats immediately leap from holding arms. Other people cradle goats while their friends take pictures. A handler places alfalfa grain pellets on mats so roaming goats will come nibble on our toes.
“Yoga is about being in the present and nothing makes you more present than goats,” says Kelley, one of the 12 yoga instructors working for Naron. “I like to see people smile and be silly.”
In 2017, Naron looked for ways to enliven his yoga classes and saw a video on Facebook of goat yoga, posted as a joke. Instead, he saw a way to enrich his yoga business. With five baby goats on loan from a farmer, Naron posted his event to Eventbrite and within hours sold out all 120 tickets.
Now Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga holds classes at three locations—on farms near Franktown, Longmont and Golden—plus a mobile unit to bring goat yoga anywhere along the Front Range, including Colorado Springs. With his crew of farmhands, yoga instructors, professional marketers and a general manager, Naron looks to expand his business as a form of animal therapy. His business already helps farmers, as Naron rescues male goats that farmers don’t want.
Despite their spunk, Naron insists goats are “very fragile.” Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga maintains proper herd health management, compliance with USDA and health regulations, and they sanitize everything. If goats poop on your mat (and they will), there’s a cleanup station to sanitize mats, hands and feet.
“They do it right,” says Kelley about working for Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga. “They care for the animals. It’s a good harmony.”
Other than sporadic pooping and occasional hoof stomps on toes, the goats are well-behaved. Amanda Busovsky of Colorado Springs says the goats made it “hard to focus, but [it is] really cool when they get on your back.” Her friend, Colleen Parith, heard on Facebook about the event, sponsored by Goat Patch Brewery, and knew she had to do it. “I loved it,” she says, smiling as goats crowd around her.
“Goats are therapeutic,” Kelley says, and the attendees seem to agree. As we sit cross-legged at the end of class, she intones, “Peace begins with me. Peace begins with goats.”
Get Out With the Goats
Want to try goat yoga? Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga returns to Colorado Springs for goat yoga at The Promenade Shops at Briargate on Saturday, Sept. 15, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
For tickets or info: rockymountaingoatyoga.com
To plan a goat yoga event: firstname.lastname@example.org