Business & Real Estate

Goat your back: LAH yoga classes boast practice with a 'baaa-mazing' twist

Goat yoga
Eric Davidove/Town Crier
A student practices her balance as a Nigerian dwarf goat climbs on her back during the “downward dog” pose, below.

The phenomenon of goat yoga has arrived in Los Altos Hills.

Shanti Farm owner Pam Carlton’s first class of goat yoga – which involved Nigerian dwarf goats running around or standing on participants as they practiced the mind and body exercises – was held last week on her 1-acre homestead.

To Carlton’s surprise, 15 people replied the same day she posted her ad on Nextdoor for the class, for which she had set a maximum of 10 attendees. So she added a second class. That class reached capacity as well, so she added yet another one later the same day and it filled up as well. Since then, Carlton has scheduled another class in May, which is also completely booked.

“It was just unbelievable,” Carlton said. “The yoga instructor (was) just blown away.”

A countrywide fad, goat yoga enables participants to have fun while they seek to connect mind, body and strength. The flat land on Carlton’s property, which connects to a park trail in the Los Trancos head of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District area, seems like an oasis for classes, and her breed of mini goat meets the opportune size and weight to safely conduct goat yoga.

“Even the 1-year-olds are just a little bit bigger than newborns of a standard size breed,” Carlton said of her playful herd. “The newborn goats.. are probably 7 to 10 pounds.”

Those unfamiliar with farm animals or any type of modified yoga need not fret, Carlton said. Newborn goats want nothing more than to love on those around them, and their mechanism of chewing with their back teeth means that any nibbling won’t do damage.

There’s a good chance the goats will treat attendees’ bodies like jungle gyms, Carlton added, because their end game is to get to the peak height in their environment.

“All (baby goats) want is to get to the highest point in their pen,” she said. “Typically, that’s people’s heads. They want to be on your shoulders, they want to be on your head. It’s a blast, and (that’s why) I had all these people asking me if I was doing goat yoga.”

After the hourlong class, the yoga students have a half-hour to snuggle with the baby goats that were climbing on them.

“It’s adorable, it’s fun and it’ll also get people used to the goats,” Carlton said.

Carlton went into the first classes with no expectations. Just having the amount of people who were interested in the classes sign up as quickly as they did was a rush, she said.

“And so all of this is just like being a little kid and getting so psyched, because it is so much fun,” she said. “I love seeing people get excited about the same things I’m excited about.”

Carlton later called her first class “a blast” and said she thought the goats had a good time as well.

“It was a little hard to concentrate on my yoga at times because I was so happy playing with the babies,” participant Joanie Blefari posted on the event page the next day.

Shanti Farm is located at 31107 Page Mill Road, Los Altos Hills. For more information on Carlton’s goat yoga, cheese- making, soap-making and animal-keeping classes, visit shantifarm.org.

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