It all started last September, when April Gould and Sarah Williams decided to combine their passions. Gould is known as a “goat whisperer,” and Williams has been teaching yoga for over 20 years.
The longtime friends now host all-levels yoga classes at a farm in Gilbert. (You'll get the exact location sent to you when you buy a ticket.) Classes can have around 100 people, and Gould and Williams' goal is for everyone to have a "goat experience." In other words, everyone gets to touch a goat or do yoga with a goat.
Classes cost $12 per person and tend to sell out quickly. So I had to see what all the fuss was about. Here's what happened when I gave the barnyard fitness trend a try.
I arrived at the farm ready to hang out with goats. I checked in, opened the gate, and goats were already mingling with the yoga students. To my surprise, you can basically play dress-up with them. No, in case you are wondering, you don't need to bring your own special goat clothes; the instructors already have plenty.
Gould has done a great job training the goats, which made for a stress-free experience. Besides being super cute, they are soft, calm, and docile, and you can pet them before, during, and after class.
Pictures with any of the 16-plus goats are entirely encouraged. There is also a professional photographer on-site who takes pictures the entire time. They'll post all the photos on Facebook after the event. Though the photos are free, the photographer does works for tips. So, if you plan to use them, bring some cash with you.
Again, they are trained goats. So the chances that they'll poop on you are slim. But you might see them taking care of, um, business around the farm.
Some of the goats are heavy.
Even though there are more baby goats than grown-up goats, you might get a big one. So make sure to maintain your balance and enjoy the moment.
Gould and Williams will keep you entertained for the hourlong class. And, they make sure everyone gets to interact with a goat.
It's not your typical fitness class.
Because what other fitness class features goats who can randomly kiss you? Bottom line: There's a strong social component to this yoga course, and interacting with fellow attendees is totally encouraged. You don’t get that in a typical yoga or fitness class.
Although the goats can be a little distracting, you can definitely get a yoga workout here. It's really up to you.
But you don't have to do yoga.
If you don't want to do yoga, you don't have to. You can just sit around and relax with goats. People who only want to experience it from their chairs/mats can do just that. In my class, there were people who just tried a few poses and then focused on getting photos for their Instagram feed. No harm, no foul. But you still have to pay for a ticket to get in.
If you are in a yoga position where they can put their hooves on you, they will do it. They don’t stay very long, though. They tend to jump right back to the grass — or on to the next person.
What I exercised the most was my facial muscles. At one point, I had two baby goats on my back, and I couldn’t stop laughing. It is literally impossible to be unhappy while a goat is doing yoga with you. I mean, unless you hate goats. In which case you probably shouldn't try goat yoga.
Even though when I went it smell like fresh grass, you have to consider that is not always the case. You are on a farm; there are other animals just feet away that might cause a smell. But don’t worry, the goats smell lovely.
A few extra tips: Bring your own mat. Some people brought large towels, which worked perfectly fine. You can’t bring your own goat — or any kind of animals. Tickets are $12 and sell out quickly. For more information, visit the AZ Goat Yoga website.