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Farm Fitness

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Bardstown instructor, Taylorsville farm team up for new yoga experience

By Kacie Goode

The downward-facing dog might be a popular pose in the yoga world, but goats are stealing the show as a popular new fitness trend hits home.

Jill Boyle, founder of Goat2Yoga, partnered with Bardstown yoga instructor Jennifer Hurst to offer the first “goat yoga” class Friday on Boyle’s Spencer County farm just outside of Bloomfield.

“This is a fun and unique way to practice yoga,” said Hurst, of Pink Elephant Yoga, after leading the class of about 16 people. “It’s a good way to bring people together and you’re really going to laugh. It’s just a little more exciting than your traditional yoga class. It’s outdoors and it’s a lot of fun.”

During the hour-long class, participants couldn’t help but laugh as pygmy goats Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel jumped on their backs, pulled on their shirts or nuzzled their faces.

“It made it a lot of fun,” said Twila Hall, of Bardstown. “They just approached you and got on you and played around on your mat.”

When she normally does yoga, Hall said, it’s about concentrating, and while adding a goat is sure to break that concentration, she still found the event relaxing and she enjoyed getting outdoors. The class is something she would recommend, she said.

“I had never done anything like that before, so we looked at it as another adventure.”

Cathy Bryant, of Taylorsville, also participated in the class on Friday.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said, and adding the animal component to the class really boosts the experience for participants and makes them smile.

There is a reason the participants felt happy when taking part in the class, and it is part of the science behind why goat yoga is catching on. Yoga itself is beneficial to one’s health in a number of ways, but human-animal interactions are also believed to carry their own benefits.

According to the Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, studies indicate interacting with animals can release calming endorphins. Essentially, the presence of goats offers a “happy distraction” to participants.

At Boyle’s farm, not only do the goats promote happiness, but the fresh air is a bonus for the class as well.

“It’s a nice way to get away in the country, spend a nice afternoon with your friends,” Boyle said, encouraging people to take a break from their busy lives.

Boyle said she decided to start the class after Hurst approached her about wanting to do goat yoga, but she didn’t have any goats. So, naturally, Boyle went out and bought four little goats to add to her farm. But she isn’t going to stop at goats. Within the next few weeks, she also hopes to incorporate llamas into the mix.

“That should be a lot of fun,” she said.

Goat2Yoga can be followed on Facebook and those wishing to take part in classes can book an appointment through the Facebook page or by clicking here.

Classes are one hour, and the cost is currently $25. Boyle’s farm is located at 4681 Bloomfield Road in Taylorsville.