'They may nibble your mat': Kelowna embraces 'goga' goat yoga
Yoga takes place in barn while miniature goats roam freely, climb on participants
The Okanagan Valley is the latest place to embrace an unusual new fitness craze, goat yoga — or 'goga.'
On B.C.'s Family Day weekend, Kelowna's Hoof Prints Barnyard hosted its first session of goga, one of the first classes of its kind in Canada.
"They may climb on you. They may come and give you some kisses. They might nibble your mat a little bit or nibble your hair," said Kristen Eng, the farm owner.
During Monday's class, seven small diaper-clad goats — Timbit, Muffin, Yoda, Chewie, Spirit, Bentley and Charlotte — roamed the barn freely while an instructor led participants through a yoga class.
The farm held two classes, one family-friendly and one for adults only.
A few yoga mats 'taste-tested'
"It went phenomenal. We were absolutely sold out. The goats were all very well-behaved and everybody had an absolute blast," said Eng.
"There were a few yoga mats that were being taste-tested. We were in there supervising though, so we were able to shut that down right away and redirect them to just having some affection, some pets."
Eng said she first had the idea to host the class last spring.
"Initially, it was a joke with a woman who owns 'Moga,' a mom yoga business ... I had Timbit, my little house goat at my ankles and I joked 'oh we should do yoga with goats and name it goga."
Since then, goga has actually taken off in some parts of the U.S., including Albany in Oregon.
"Lo and behold it started up in the States and it was very well received, so I thought 'what the heck? Let's bring it to Canada'."
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'It's a really good test of your focus'
Eng said the goats seem to particularly like the plank position and savasana, or corpse pose.
"They were coming right over, getting right in their faces and stepping on their bellies."
She admits it wasn't a typical quiet, serene yoga experience — instead, there were many goat sounds and lots of laughing.
"It's a really good test of your focus," she said.
The only hiccup in the first session was underestimating the size of diapers required for pygmy goats.
"Apparently a 15 pound baby bum is not the same as a 15 pound goat bum. It was a little tricky getting the diapers to stay on their bottoms as they wandered around."
She said they solved the problem by outfitting the goats with onesies, but organizers plan to get larger diapers for the next round of classes on March 5.
Eng said if there is a demand, goga could become a regular activity on her Kelowna farm.
"I sure hope so.... I think a big part of it is bringing more laughter and not such a serious attitude to everything."
"It doesn't matter how bad of a mood I may be in, the goats always make me smile, and I think they do that for everyone."
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