You read that right. Goat Yoga.

People have turned to yoga for centuries to relieve stress and anxiety, lower their blood pressure, improve their mood and mental outlook, and achieve a feeling of tranquility and well being.

People have kept pets for centuries, for all the same reasons.

So Melanie Wells, a certified yoga instructor, and Maggie Iredale, who raises goats at Bellegrove Stables and Family Farm, don’t think that combining the two is a crazy idea.

On Thursday, July 25 at 7:00pm, in the Lebanon Area Fairgrounds Pavilion, Melanie and Maggie, together with 10 or so very friendly Nigerian Dwarf goats, will present Goat Yoga to 40 fair goers who are looking for something a little different.

Goat Yoga is aimed at beginners and people who are maybe a little curious, not at advanced practitioners or purists.

“Yoga can be intimidating and make newcomers a little self conscious,” said Wells. “The silence can be overwhelming. You’re on the floor doing unnatural poses, and you’re surrounded by other people who you think are looking at you.”

Wells said the goats “take away some of the insecurity by letting beginners realize ‘they’re looking at the goats, not me.’ “

Plus, the goats can be charmingly unpredictable, which adds to the fun. “They may walk on your back. They may snuggle. They may just stare at you. Or, they may ignore you completely,” said Wells.

Iredale’s Nigerian Dwarfs, a small dairy breed, are ideal for mingling with yoga students. “They weigh less than seventy pounds, have gentle and quiet dispositions, and love to interact with people,” she said.

But, they’re farm animals, right? So what happens if they need to, shall we say, relieve themselves? It’s a fair question.

“It’s not that frequent, and it’s not that bad,” said Iredale. “Goats produce pellets, like rabbits do. We just sweep them away. And while they may go on your yoga mat, they won’t go on you.

And in the rare event that the situation becomes more fluid, Iredale comes equipped with sanitary wipes and necessary clean up gear.

Photo by Bellegrove Stables and Family Farm

Goat Yoga isn’t exactly new. Lainey Morse claims to have come up with the idea at her Oregon farm sometime around 2016. Since then “goat yogis” have popped up across the country and books have been written on the subject.

According to Wells, the 7pm Goat Yoga session on Thursday, July 25, is already sold out, but the fair’s management has added a second session at 8pm. You can signup online here.

Goat Yoga at the Lebanon Area Fair

WHEN: Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 7pm & 8pm. Check the fair’s website for details and updates.

WHERE: The Pavilion at the Lebanon Valley Exposition Center & Fairgrounds, 80 Rocherty Road, Lebanon, PA 17042

COST: There is a $5.00 entrance fee to the fair, and an additional $5.00 fee to sign up for goat yoga. Reservations can be made here.

WHAT TO BRING: Bring your own yoga mat or a towel.

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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