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Goat yoga finds popularity at Nottingham farm

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Sunday News Correspondent

April 15. 2017 9:20PM
A baby goat stands on the back of Alan Stenzel of Dover during goat yoga at Jenness Farm in Nottingham on Thursday evening. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Sunday News Correspondent)
NOTTINGHAM — The Jenness Farm’s goat yoga is a big deal — no kidding. 
 
Some 350 people were on a waiting list for Thursday’s seven-person class, where little goat gruffs climb on your back during downward dog.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Jenness Farm owner Peter Corriveau said. “We stopped taking names for waiting lists after they hit 350 people, so we’re trying to add in another instructor, add some more days of the week for classes and get a bigger space in the barn so we can accommodate as many people as we can.”
 
Corriveau heard about someone offering goat yoga on the West Coast last year, and decided to give it a try this spring. According to media reports, goat yoga classes have sprung up across the country, including in Oregon and Arizona. An Easthampton, Mass., session slated for Friday, “Goat Yoga for Charity,” has already sold out.

Currently, Jenness Farm has space for seven yoga students ($22 per class) in the downstairs section of the barn. After the class begins, five baby Nigerian goats are unleashed and start bouncing around. Giggles can be heard as the students try to keep their focus, but soon they give in and allow the animals to climb onto their backs and sniff at their hair.

Elizabeth and Artie Boutin of Madbury come to the farm every spring to visit the new kids and buy the farm’s handmade goat soap and body care products.

“When I heard that they were doing goat yoga, I was really excited,” Elizabeth said. She described the class as “phenomenal.”

“You just can’t help but smile the whole time, so it was fantastic.”

Artie Boutin said he has taken yoga only a few times.

“It’s a lot less intimidating when you have five baby goats running around, jumping on you,” he said. “Nobody is paying attention to you at all.”

Julia Lewis of Lee was cuddling a baby goat that had fallen asleep in her arms after Thursday’s class.

“I’ve done a lot of yoga, but I have never done it with goats,” Lewis said. “To combine the two is amazing.”

Instructor Janine Bibeau reminded the students to relax and focus on their poses. She encouraged the students to laugh at the goats as they jumped and played with each other.
 
“It brings so much joy, and everyone loves babies, especially baby animals. Having them around, it’s like animal therapy. Studies show that animal therapy lowers stress levels and anxiety. It lowers your blood pressure. Those are all things yoga does, too, so combining the two is just such a unique experience,” said Bibeau, who writes a health and wellness blog called Health, Love and Applesauce.
 
Corriveau said the farm might continue the program even after the baby goats have grown.

“We’ll have to see how it works as they get bigger. Obviously, they’ll be heavier, but they are not as apt to jump as much. We have seen other places that do it with full-sized goats wandering between people, so we’ll kind of play it by ear,” Corriveau said.

For more information, visit www.jennessfarm.com.


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