The dolphin, the eagle, the downward-facing dog, the extended puppy—yoga poses are full of animal references.
On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of locals gathered on the lush green lawn of “Christine’s Garden”—the New Canaan Library property at the corner of South Avenue and Maple Street—to practice the popular discipline with baby goats.
Organized through the library, “Goat Yoga”—led by a Hamden-based livestock rescue farm—sold out three sessions on a hot, sunny day in downtown New Canaan, two for teens and one for adults.
“It’s an hourlong class with little goats running around, jumping on you, being obnoxious, eating your clothes or trying to, peeing on your mat, pooping on you,” Leah Hilton, co-owner of Nadeau Farm, said from outside a corral at Christine’s Garden while Tanya Sage led a class of smiling, laughing, photo-taking women practiced a “gentle” version of Eastern breathing and posing techniques inside it.
Asked what the appeal of goat yoga is, Hilton said with a laugh, “That is the appeal.”
The working livestock farm has been in her husband’s family since 1939, Hilton said. This month, the farm—which includes 16 lambs, 19 young goats or “kids,” five Scottish highland cattle, two horses, two donkeys and dozens of ducks and chickens, all of them rescued—marked one year of offering goat yoga (on weekends at Nadeau and weekdays “on the road”).
The baby bgoats who are allowed in the pen with the yoga practitioners are up to 10 weeks old, Hilton said, and include “bottle babies” that had been rejected by their mamas.
Cheryl Capitani, the library’s manger of services to families, said the Assistant Teen Librarian Samantha Connell did all the leg work to set up the goat yoga sessions. Priced at $10 per person, they sold out quickly.
“It’s going extremely well,” Capitani said. “We had a huge outpouring of interest.”
Referring to Nadeau Farm as a “rescue livestock sanctuary,” Capitani said the sessions are “a way for her [Hilton] to support their mission, so I think that’s pretty cool.”
Participants turned in rave reviews.
“I loved it,” New Canaan’s Dionna Carlson said in an email after attending the day’s first session with her daughter, calling it “a great experience” with the “adorable goats.”
“Lightened my mood for the day,” Carlson said. It also was a “great stress reducer,” she said.
“I was happy not to have a goat relieve itself on my mat (or me),” she added, though a “couple of participants got this added bonus.”