I have done yoga more than a few times, but this was a totally different animal. Goat yoga was not at all what I expected it to be. It was even better.
Goat yoga is an experience that brings you into the present moment. You are taken out of your comfort zone and rewarded with a lovable goat’s warm energy. Meditation may be the last thing on the goat yoga agenda, as the goats really do steal the show.
This is not your typical yoga studio. You’re outside and in the middle of gorgeous, open farmland nestled in a valley surrounded by the mountains. With fresh air, the sound of birds chirping and yogis laughing, you might even get a little dirty when you combine nature and yoga.
Arriving at Bear Valley Farms July 3, I soon realized this would be the most diverse yoga class I’ve taken. The class was filled with kids, teenagers, parents, grandparents and couples. Susan Johnston, the yoga instructor, asked who was new to goat yoga. All except a few people raised their hands.
I was skeptical about the larger goats at first. I immediately had a change of heart as soon as we interacted.
“Usually the goats will have the same energy as the class,” Johnston said.
We did have a group of high-energy goats. It’s hard to take anything too seriously as goats walk by, hop on your neighbor’s back, jump around, insist on belly rubs and bump heads with each other.
“At first they (the goats) were timid,” Johnston said. “Now they know the business. They all get excited when I start to pull out the (yoga) mats.”
Every goat boasts its own personality. Some goats are timid, some are overly social, some are small and others are tall. Though they all do have one thing in common — they like to jump on your back.
June 2019 marked the one-year goat yoga anniversary for Jody Barrett, farm and goat owner. Barrett is warm and welcoming with the entire goat yoga experience. Barrett joins in the classes to oversee her goats as they play with the yogis.
She started with four goats for her petting zoo and began to think about goat yoga. “A friend called one day ... she said a male goat got out and she now had seven extra goats at her farm,” Barrett said. That’s how it all began.
Barrett really loves her goats. All 14 of them. “I take my goats everywhere,” Barrett said. “I take a couple goats into the Village with leashes and a little broom to sweep up after them.”
At the end of the one-hour yoga class, Johnston reminds participants where they are and to enjoy the gazing goats. “I’ve been doing this for two seasons now through Big Bear Yoga,” Johnston said. “We love it because it’s an opportunity to give back to the farm.” Johnston suggests trying the course in late fall; it’s held indoors with a fireplace.
Barrett finishes off the class with a story about each goat. Then, it’s picture time. Barrett helps you get the photo-op you came for.
Grab a friend and join the goat fun. Try to have your hair up and your clothes without frays which may be chewed. Yoga mats are provided and the class fee is $20. Goat yoga is a subtle reminder not to take life too seriously — laugh, stretch and enjoy the farmhouse company.
Bear Valley Farms is home to goat yoga this summer on Wednesdays at
6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 or 9:30 a.m. Bear Valley Farms is at 1601 E. Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear City. For more information, visit