Not long ago, Danielle Ford, owner of Pampered Pup Luxury Pet Resort in Millville, was brainstorming for new activities to bring to the farm.
Then, her father stumbled on a novel idea.
“We have the goats, they’re super friendly, and we have our day care space that isn’t used on the weekends,” said Ford, who was looking to ramp up the “barnyard experience” at Pampered Pup, which offers private parties and educational tours of the farm.
So Barnyard Yoga, where guests work out alongside goats, was born.
Pampered Pup has offered the class twice, and Ford said guests were thrilled afterward. The goats, which Ford described as affectionate attention-seekers with a disposition similar to a dog’s, also loved the class.
“It was definitely a class with a lot of selfies,” she said with a laugh.
Could yoga with hooves be relaxing? Ford said yes.
Yoga with a goat may seem like a stretch, but it’s the new norm for those who want a twist to their routine.
Some may even want to take their warrior pose with a pint of beer.
Justine Henderson is a beer-tender at Pinelands Brewing Co. in Little Egg Harbor Township. Next month, she’ll graduate from her yoga teacher-training. She was tasked with organizing a service project to raise money for her charity of choice.
Henderson thought bringing new people to the brewery to sip beer, try yoga and raise money for the nonprofit animal rescue Rancho Relaxo would be an all-around win.
“Quite a few people had never been to Pinelands before, and I know when I brought up the idea initially to the owners of Pinelands, they were all for it,” Henderson said, noting the brewery donates to charity every Tuesday.
They filled the brewery with beginners, teachers in training, married couples and “everyone in between,” she said.
“A lot of people said it was a really fun class, even for beginners. They liked (that) they were able to stay and socialize with people afterwards,” Henderson said of the guests, who were able to sip on beer after the workout. “They liked the flow of the class, the energy.”
Coupling yoga with something you wouldn’t expect — beer, goats or even gangster rap — can make others feel comfortable participating.
Young, old, athletes, pregnant women, children — Henderson says yoga “is for everyone.”
“Sometimes, it’s offering a brewery yoga class or beer yoga class to get people to realize that,” she said.
Bri Jamison, general manager at PLAAY Fitness and Yoga in Ocean City, said a yoga class with a twist can help switch it up for regulars.
“They’re tired of the same old thing,” she said. “I know for myself, going to the same old yoga class doing the same old flow — it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. It’s good for me, it’s what I love to do, but anytime I can switch it up or make it interesting, it’s not only good conditioning for your body and mind, it’s fun.”
PLAAY, which opened in January, plans to be “unlike anything South Jersey has seen,” Jamison said. In terms of alternative yoga, or even regular classes, she said,the studio offers it all.
“We’ve got aerial yoga as well as every kind of mat yoga you can think of,” she said. The studio also offers rock climbing and aerial arts and will roll out paddleboard yoga in the summer, she said.
Coming up, the studio will offer Buti Glow, a yoga in which participants can douse themselves in glow-in-the-dark-paint before stretching and dancing under black lights.
Buti yoga combines tribal dance yoga with female empowerment, Jamison said.
“It’s fun to take something you love, like yoga, and add some spice and sass to it,” she said.
As for beer and yoga, Henderson said she definitely plans on holding another event. Goat yoga, too, will be making a comeback this month.
Ford encourages others to come out, have fun and relax.
“We work with local rescues, so we’re definitely helping people to get to know the goats and farm animals,” Ford said. “Some people may not have realized how friendly goats are.”