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Yoga. Now with Bleats

Downward-facing... doe? Don't laugh, it happens a lot in goat yoga.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Until a few years ago, nobody really thought to put goats and yoga together. And yet, here we are, living in a world where the sight of downward-facing yogis and bouncing baby goats in the same place looks as natural as mac and cheese.

For Jim and Terri Gustin, owners of Critter Creek Farm in Rock Hill– primarily a flower farm, but one with lots of animals around – the idea just worked itself out.   

“We used to have all these little programs to bring the farm off to people who didn’t have that experience,” Terri Gustin says. Critter Creek developed a rent-a-chick program, a rent-a-coot program ….

“The natural progress was baby goats,” she says. “Everybody wants to come see the baby goats.”

The Gustins’ own children used to play with the goats and help socialize them, but once the kids left home, the goats didn’t get a lot of company. Gustin says she heard about a woman out west doing goat yoga and thought it was the ideal answer.

She also thought it would be a fad.

“We really never expected to be doing this after the first year,” she says. “And here we are, three years later.”

And, she says, online tickets for the weekly goat yoga classes still sell out weeks in advance. Newbies wanting to try it in June or July will actually have to wait until September/October.

Tammy Calvin, Critter Creek’s goat yoga instructor, says the class is a basic class – one designed to get people to try yoga in possibly the least intimidating environment possible.

“This is a very non-threatening way to introduce people to yoga,” she says.

Given that at any random point during any session you could look into the class and see people loving on baby goats, it’s hard to disagree.

Gustin says that as long as everyone enjoys it, including – or maybe especially –the goats, she and her husband will keep offering goat yoga. And she will keep walking around to get the photos everyone really comes to get.

“Everyone’s here for the goats,” she says. “Every week we have people that don’t do a lick of yoga. They’re just here to play with the goats.”