Kirtland residents share family farm for goat yoga

KIRTLAND, OH (WOIO) - Yoga classes that incorporate animals into the fitness routine are growing in popularity. A family farm in Kirtland has teamed up with a fitness center to offer goat yoga.

Turkeys, chickens and goats are a part of Alissa Helwig's family farm named Feels Like Home Farm. She and her husband have the animals mainly for their kids' enjoyment. But in recent weeks, the farm has welcomed guests for goat yoga.

"They (goats) look forward to it. We put the fence up. They know what's going to happen," Helwig said. "The kind of know their role, and they just love on people."

Pairing goats with yoga never crossed Helwig's mind until friends started posted videos of it on her Facebook page. Not long after there was a phone conversation with Soza Fitness & Wellness in Parma.

"We do other animal classes," said DK Jones, co-owner of Soza Fitness & Wellness. "We do kitten yoga (and) we do puppies and Pilates. So, the members actually said, 'We want goats'. So, we needed a space and goats. That's how this whole collaboration came about."

Classes held earlier in the summer instantly sold out.

"Everybody gets to give the goats treats, so that's one way people make friends with the goats at the beginning," Helwig said. "They're (goats) are just really curious, and they don't really care what the  humans are doing. They just walk right through.

Some goats show more interest in the workout than others. A few of Helwig's goats roamed during the class while others climbed over people and stayed close by for human interaction.

Heidi Sathre said having the goats as a part of the workout is a mood lifter.

"if you have a bad day, you can't come to goat yoga and not feel better," Sathre said.

Jones said the practice is growing in popularity because people are looking to disconnect with technology and change up fitness routines that can become boring.

"People want out of the traditional studio. They want to be in nature," Jones said.

Sathre was amazed at how dog-like the goats are.

"They will lay next to you. They will jump on your back. They will give you kisses and nuzzle," Sathre said. "It's such a fun unique experience."

Each goat has a collar with its name printed on the fabric. Helwig is happy she didn't turn down the invitation to try something new.

"I though what a better way to share our animals with other people than to invite them to the farm," Helwig said.

September's goat yoga session is sold out but there's availability for October and November sessions.

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