Goats add playful twist to yoga class

Janelle Shewchuk (left) and Julie Nykiforuk sit in a lotus pose during a goat yoga class on Monday.

By Joel van der Veen

BLADWORTH —  A herd of goats, a yoga mat, and thou.

These were the ingredients for a unique experience at the farm of Mary Smillie and Ian McCreary at Bladworth on Monday night.

Around 45 people visited the farm for a session of “goat yoga,” led by local instructor Lois Dueck.

It’s exactly what the name suggests: a yoga class given inside the goats’ pen, with the animals freely walking around, nibbling on grass and sometimes getting up close and personal with the participants.

Dueck, who has been teaching yoga for 12 years, said she wasn’t sure what to expect heading into Monday evening.

She had visited the farm previously to meet the herd and said she found it easy to warm up to the goats, who seemed to have a calming effect.

“It brought all levels and ages together, and that was very cool,” said Dueck. “Being outside was very nice, too.”

Dueck remarked that she’d expected the goats to be more curious, noting that they were drawing closer to the yoga group as the evening went on.

The goats appeared comfortable despite the presence of the large group. Some drew close enough to be petted or held, or to nibble on a participant’s shoelace. Occasionally a few of the goats would startle, leading to a brief, harmless stampede.

“People really have to try it to know what it’s like,” said Dueck. “I’d be up for doing it again, for sure.”

Smillie began raising goats six years ago, starting with 12 animals. Currently, her herd includes 30 nanny goats, 14 replacement doelings (one year old) and 42 kids.

The event was inspired by videos of goat yoga that were recently posted online. To Smillie, goats and yoga sounded like a natural pairing.

“Yoga should be about feeling good and relaxing,” said Smillie. “It seemed to work.”

She contacted Dueck, who was immediately on board. She said afterward that she was pleased with the response, adding that several more would have come if not for prior commitments.

More sessions are planned for the future, said Smillie, adding that she would appreciate feedback from those who attended the first.

For the full story, please see the June 12 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

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