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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Guess ‘hooves’ doing yoga?

AnnE Potter ’25 doing goat yoga at Hellerick’s Family Farm. PHOTO: ANNE POTTER ’25/THE HAWK
Student tries out goat yoga for the first time

As the goat climbed onto my back in the middle of a downward dog yoga pose, I remembered what the instructor, Donna Pastorok, told us before the class started: Goats do not care where they go to the bathroom. They also might nibble on hair, shirts and shoe laces.

I hadn’t known what to expect when I arrived at Hellerick’s Family Farm in Doylestown, Pennsylvania for an hour-long goat yoga class last month. I’d brought my mom and little sister with me for the experience, which cost $25 per person. I’d also brought a towel, as instructed, because the class was in a goat pen on the farm. 

Pastorok, who was wearing a blue T-shirt that read “I love goats,” directed a group of 18 of us into the pen, where we were met by about 12 goats. 

Goat yoga is exactly what the name implies: a yoga class with goats. Lainey Morse, from Monroe, Oregon, is credited with kicking off the goat yoga trend in 2016 at her farm. It’s become a popular option for people who love yoga and animals, and is a great opportunity to use your body while also working on your mental health.

I set up my towel next to Elissa Kratson and her friend Sarah Lewis, who live near the farm and have participated in other activities there.

“We came here to go pumpkin picking, and then I saw they had goats here,” Kraston said. “I was like, ‘I’m just gonna look it up,’ and then I dragged [Lewis] along.” 

The class began just like any other yoga class I have attended. We started by centering ourselves, legs criss-crossed, taking deep breaths, inhaling, exhaling. Then we moved into downward dog, face down, knees tucked under our stomachs, arms stretched forward.

The first goat that jumped on my back was much heavier than expected, and I was afraid to move.

Lewis explained after the class that she felt the same way.

“I never had a goat on top of me,” Lewis said. “I didn’t want to hurt them, and I didn’t want to hurt myself. But it was fun.”

Kratson said she loved how friendly, affectionate and fun the goats are. 

“They’re funky and fun and just come up and just want to be friends,” Kratson said. 

Make that fast friends. I am used to dogs, needing to sniff you and observe you before you continue petting them. Not the goats. One goat came and laid down right next to me, leaned on me while I was sitting upright. I pet the goat and instantly my stress was gone. 

Karen Krivit, director of the Philly Goat Project in Philadelphia, told me goats are nothing like dogs. The Philly Goat Project, which is about 15 minutes from campus in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, also offers goat yoga classes and goat happy hours.

“Goats aren’t as overtly expressive as dogs,” Krivit said. “You have to get to know their subtleties. Goats are really funny and affectionate, smart and silly. They’re really playful in a different way than dogs are.”

Goats also have no filter. They stick their butt in your face while your head is tilted to the sky in an upward facing dog pose. Or drop a load of poop next to your hand while you’re in table top pose. 

And then I heard a sound I don’t often hear in yoga classes: laughter. 

“Normally yoga is very zen,” Pastorok said. “But in goat yoga, you’re trying to do this very zen pose and there’s goats running around on you. It’s like ‘what’s going on in the world.’ So, you just accept it, embrace it and have fun.” 

It worked for me. 

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