Let Goat and Let God with Goat Yoga

Where yoga mats are shared with joyful barnyard companions.

Amanda Sorresse, of Parsippany, enjoys the pitter patter of little feet on her back.
Amanda Sorresse, of Parsippany, enjoys the pitter patter of little feet on her back.
Photo by Matt Rainey

Adrienne Crombie began offering occasional yoga classes at Mad Lavender Farm when it first opened in 2014. The 10-acre spread in Milford was also home to a small herd of baby Nigerian dwarf goats, which Crombie raised for a breeder. When Crombie saw a YouTube video of a new craze called goat yoga, she thought, Why not here?

“The idea caught on like wildfire,” says Crombie, who offered her first goat-yoga class in May 2017. “The demand surprised us.”

Now, visitors come to the farm, 10 miles east of the Delaware River in Hunterdon County, from as far away as New York City to practice the ancient art of yoga while interacting with these sociable animals. The goats—about the size of a small dog—wander among the yogis as the class proceeds, spreading their special joy. One might curl up in an inviting lap; another might jump onto the back of someone in downward dog pose. Not to say that goat yoga is all kicks. The goats are known to pee on yoga mats when they get excited. (In such circumstances, at Mad Lavender, mats are cleaned or quickly replaced.)

Mad Lavender Farm holds classes in a tepee from May to October on Saturday and Sunday mornings and some Friday nights. A one-hour class is $35, with an added half-hour for petting and bottle-feeding the goats.

Goat yoga began on the West Coast two years ago and spread east. Mad Lavender Farm is one of several New Jersey locations offering these unconventional classes. At the New Weis Center for Education, Arts, and Recreation in Ringwood, goat-yoga classes are scheduled at various times twice a month. Yogis have an opportunity to mingle with the regulars—five Nigerian dwarf goats and a Nubian goat, belonging to Totes Goats, the mother-son team of Maureen and Tyler Morella, who launched the project about a year ago.

Classes take place on the center’s grounds (moving indoors in bad weather and during winter months). A one-hour class costs $30 and is followed by a half hour for playing with the goats and learning about their care and personalities. “We are so pleased to partner with Totes Goats,” says Anne Siebecker, trustee at the center. “Everyone enjoys the animals and leaves with a smile.”

At Oasis Therapeutic Life Center in Red Bank, the proceeds from goat yoga help fund the center’s services for young adults with autism. Outdoor one-hour classes are $30 and run May–October on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings.

Wherever it is practiced, the benefits of goat yoga are clear, says Crombie. “Goats bring joy and play into our lives,” she says. “Goat yoga is about letting go and forgetting your stress.”

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