Breathe in, bleat out: Goat yoga comes to Costa Mesa
Cobra. Locust. Dog. Goat.
The first three are yoga poses. The other is just there to hang out.
The OC Fair & Event Center will be a decidedly rustic studio Saturday when it hosts the Goat Yoga Experience, a yoga class with newborn goats springing on and around the participants to help liven things up.
The Costa Mesa fairgrounds is providing the venue — the lawn outside the big red Millennium Barn at Centennial Farm. Spectra Yoga of Costa Mesa is supplying the instructors, and the Fountain Valley Cloverdale 4-H Club is lending the kids, or baby goats. The goats — no larger than puppies — are bringing the cute.
Goats are naturally curious, affectionate and athletic. They love to climb. As much as animal lovers want to nuzzle the goats, the goats will want to cuddle and crawl all over them.
The goat yoga trend was born in Oregon about two years ago and has since received national news coverage. Even comedian Kevin Hart took a goat yoga class for his internet channel..
The Costa Mesa classes — 100 slots over two sessions — sold out within 24 hours, said Evy Young, Centennial Farm’s agricultural education supervisor.
Spectra Yoga owner Aileen Pham said most of the interest in the classes came not from experienced yogis but generally from people who want to play with tiny goats. But she said it can have tangible physical benefits for the yogis, who build up strength by holding their poses long enough for the frolicking goats to clamber onto their backs.
Pham said it was easy for her to find willing instructors from her 40-teacher roster, and she’s looking forward to more goat yoga sessions this summer.
Spectra already brings yoga to the masses with novelty and themed events, such as its “Vinoyasa” yoga and wine tasting nights, Pham said.
Young said most people who go to Centennial Farm like to visit the piglets, but she’s always been partial to the baby goats. So she reached out to Rachel Kaufman, a Cloverdale 4-H parent, knowing she’d have the hookup for friendly, hand-reared Nigerian dwarf goats.
As it turns out, Kaufman was aware of the goat yoga trend and was trying to find a yoga instructor for a 4-H fundraiser.
Kaufman said some baby goats born last week are ready to go, but she wasn’t sure how many animals she would bring Saturday because two does were ready to give birth and their kids could be out in time to join the party.
Newborn kids need little time to adjust to post-womb life — they’re scampering and eating within 15 minutes of birth, Kaufman said. The kids born last week are now a little more than 2 pounds and about a foot tall. (A full-grown Nigerian dwarf is about 2 feet tall and 50 to 75 pounds.)
Although the yoga classes are full, other visitors can watch, interact with the goats at a selfie station and take in the farm’s usual family-friendly activities, such as petting fluffy chicks. Cloverdale kids — human ones— will be selling treats and raffle tickets.
Those who do get to practice yoga with the goats should keep in mind that they’re still farm animals.
“There’s no guarantee that they won’t go [relieve themselves] on your yoga mat or nibble on your ear or clothing,” Pham said.
IF YOU GO
What: Goat Yoga Experience & Fun Farm Day
When: Saturday, with goat yoga sessions from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 1:30 p.m. Other activities are open till 4 p.m.
Where: Centennial Farm, OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
Cost: Free. The yoga sessions are sold out, but spectators are welcome.
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