Baa-maste is a common phrase around this goat sanctuary.
It's not every day you get to stretch out on a yoga mat in a pasture of rescued goats.
But on weekends at The Wobbly Ranch in Snohomish, Washington, you can do just that.
Amanda Leone and her long-time partner, Mark, started their home for rescue goats on Christmas Day two years ago after they closed on a country property which later became The Wobbly Ranch.
Amanda had her heart stolen by Trippy, a three-legged goat who packed a lot of sass. She convinced Mark to let her bring Trippy home. Though Trippy only lived six months at his new abode, he quickly inspired the couple to open up their home to more goats.
The Wobbly Ranch, located just 30 miles north of Seattle, is currently the forever home for 10 rambunctious and curious caprines of all ages, some with horns, many with attitude, and all with a rescue story that will tug at your heart strings.
Of the 10 farm animals, six are "goat yoga approved"--they're under 30 pounds and more interested in snuggles than acrobatics.
May 6 and 7, 2017 was the inaugural weekend for goat yoga at The Wobbly Ranch--currently the only known classes of its kind in Washington state--where three instructors now find themselves outside of the yoga studio teaching in the sunshine and grass.
Cami, a seven-year yogi with two years of instructor experience, runs the Sunday morning class. She reminded participants that goats will be curious and dirty, and that sometimes you just have to listen to your inner yogi. This might include pausing mid-pose to carpe diem when a goat chooses to strut by you.
Cami also educated registrants on the immune system boost we can get by being around animals. She laughed when pointing out one thing in particular. Cami said:
"We're breathing in all sorts of health benefits from them, including methane."
There is never any guarantee that a goat won't jump on you while you're planking, nor is there a promise that your mat won't get pooped on. But just being in the company of animals can improve a person's mental health.
Special yoga mats are provided and closed-toed shoes are encouraged as the six goats are free to frolic and meander wherever they please.
Meet Seamus, Mouse, and Lulu, three 15-week old kids rescued this week from a slaughterhouse when it was discovered their mothers were pregnant. They spent most of my goat yoga experience grazing and napping on yoga mats. Snuggling was encouraged and happened frequently.
Bambi and Olaf's story is sure to give you all the feels. Bambi was found in a field of dead animals, including her mother. A veterinarian diagnosed her with a hole in her heart and gave her a grim prognosis. The Wobbly Ranch rescued Olaf to give Bambi some company, and the two fell in ungulate love.
Recently, Bambi had a vet check-up. The hole in her heart is smaller and she no longer has a guarded outlook on life. Amanda thinks the healing might be due in part to Bambi's adorable love affair with Olaf. She told Wide Open Pets:
"We like to say Olaf filled the hole in her heart."
Bambi dons pink tennis balls on her horns to protect yogi enthusiasts, because goats like to head-butt. Amanda calls her "Hollaback Girl" when she's flaunting them as they look a little like pom-poms.
And let's not forget Vincent van Goat, aka Vinny the Mook--so nicknamed due to his delightfully innocent face. Vinny is the only goat on the farm not bottle-fed, which means he is the only hoofed creature that doesn't think he's a human. He would rather do his own thing in the middle of the pasture, but if you're patient, he just might let you give him a butt scratch.
Vinny was found locked in a shed where he had been fed through a small opening. The shed had to be pried open to get him to safety.
In addition to these goagies--A.K.A. goats that mingle with yogis--four male goats were transferred from a dairy farm to the ranch. As Amanda said:
"Surprise. You don't need male goats on a dairy farm."
They hang out in a separate enclosure during the yoga sessions since they're 100 pounds and therefore not quite goat yoga approved.
While ending the session with shavasana, also called savasna or the Corpse Pose, Cami suggested participants listen to the sounds. In a yoga studio, it's easy to hear your own inhales and exhales. But in a pasture, you can be calmed by the meditative chewing of goats and their pitter-pattering hooves in the grass.
On this sunny opening debut weekend at The Wobbly Ranch, the distant hum of lawn mowers and traffic was also masked by chirping birds and nearby neighing horses with the invading but welcome smell of farm life.
After the one-hour yoga class, participants are welcomed to interact with all the goats on site.
Register now for weekend classes through June. They're sure to fill up fast! All proceeds go back to this privately funded goat rescue.
Have you done goat yoga? Tell us in the comments below!
All photos via Stacey Venzel.
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