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Moo-ve over, goat yoga. Alice Sanctuary classes include all farm animals

The mooing of cows replaces soothing music during yoga classes on a farm just east of Balzac.

Yogis can participate alongside sheep, chicken and cows on farm just east of Balzac

Yoga teacher Jessica Yan strikes a pose at the Alice Sanctuary on June 23. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

A cow's mooing replaces meditation music at the Alice Sanctuary yoga studio. 

As do the sounds of chickens squawking and sheep bleating, along with other noises made by animals on the farm just east of Balzac, Alta. 

This is farm yoga, a new outdoor exercise class that takes goat yoga to the next level. 

"It was so peaceful, the sounds could just lull you to sleep," said Carmen Braynen, a volunteer at the Alice Sanctuary, after a class on Sunday. 

The Alice Sanctuary is hosting four farm yoga classes this summer. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

The sanctuary, a not-for-profit whose aim is to connect visitors and rescued farm animals, is hosting four animal yoga classes throughout the summer. 

This is the third year that it's offered the classes — and so far, it's been the most successful, according to sanctuary founder Janneane Madill.

Janneane Madill is the founder of the Alice Sanctuary. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

Madill said the yoga studio nearly reached its capacity of 30 participants on Sunday. 

"We're sharing space with the animals. It's just a great way to connect and to be compassionate with one another," said yoga instructor Jessica Yan. 

Yan said it feels freeing to teach yoga in a field surrounded by friendly animals. 

The chicken tend to run around while the sheep seek out yoga participants who will scratch their butts and armpits, she said, adding that goats will also go up to yogis and nibble on their clothes. 

Turkeys hung around the participants on Sunday, as did goats Sam and Reggie.

"It's been so fun because here you are in downward-facing dog and a goat walks by and starts nuzzling you," said Sharon Newcombe, who attended the class with her daughters and nieces for the first time this week.

"And I'll tell you, to go into savasana [a yoga pose] and just to hear the mooing of the cow, it was just beautiful." 

As many as 30 yogis can attend a farm yoga class. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

 Newcombe said she plans to sign up for another class in the future. 

So will Braynen, who said the classes are one of her favourite events at the sanctuary. 

"There's something nice about it being outside, you get fresh air with some like-minded people," she said. 

With files from Susan Holzman

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