With toddlers, goats and the occasional chicken running around a barn, it didn’t seem like much yoga would get done at Dream Big Ranch’s inaugural Mama and Me Goat Yoga class.
But instructor Amber Herzog-Lyman led a group of moms and kids through a series of animal-themed poses for an hour as the goats nibbled at hay between the mats.
The little yogis were free to roam around and pet the animals. During relaxation time, each one held a chicken to feel its heartbeat.
Herzog-Lyman was inspired to teach the classes by a farm in Oregon that began hosting goat yoga classes this summer. She teamed up with Tracy Jensen of Dream Big Ranch in Sanger to bring goat yoga to the Valley.
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“The idea of yoga is to focus on the present moment,” she said. “When you’re in a setting like this and you have the animals moving around, and you have the playful energy and the laughter, you can’t help but focus on what’s happening in the moment.”
Herzog-Lyman has been teaching yoga for three years and practicing for the last 14 – including the class she attended just three days before her son was born. Her now 4-year-old son, Griffin, teaches the class alongside her, suggesting poses like the Baby Koala.
Jensen hosts a mobile petting zoo as well as therapy services with the ranch’s small herd of dairy goats. She also milks the goats to make soap.
“They have great dispositions, they’re very friendly and they love the kids,” she said.
She sees goat yoga as an extension of therapy because the animals have a calming effect on both kids and adults.
“The kids are always smiling, they talk about it well after the interaction,” she said. “And the babies are always a hit because the little ones can pick them up.”
The class concluded on theme with everyone gathering in a circle to say, “Maaaa-maste.”
More information about future goat yoga classes for kids and grown-ups will be available on the Dream Big Ranch Facebook page.