Animals and people just go hand in hand, both as pets and as companions. But not everyone is able to have their very own fur baby, be it the cost of rearing an animals, not being able to house them in a pet-friendly environment, or the potential of allergens. Therefore places and activities that allow you to get up close and personal with your favourite animal seem to be a great solution/alternative. Specialty cafes allow you to sip coffee with cats. And it is so popular of a concept that variations such as rabbit cafes, hedgehog cafes, and even owl cafes are a thing. Unfortunately they all exist in Japan. Luckily Vancouver now has its own animal themed experience, one that best mirrors our West Coast lifestyle. Introducing “goat yoga”! The yoga class that has you flexing with kids (the plural of baby goats)!
This very unique class requires no formal yoga knowledge, no shots, or waivers. Just a lengthy travel out to Abbotsford’s “Maan Farms”. Known of being more than just your neighbour farmers, they offer more than just berries and fresh vegetables. They also host families with plenty of seasonally driven activities like a corn maze to scamper through, a petting farm to interact with baby goats, a wooden fortress and plenty of obstacles for kids to climb over and slide under, and their pumpkin patch when Halloween rolls around. And for the parents, they have a great store featuring their hand picks produce for sale, a bakery with fresh baked goods, the perfect pairing for their spread and compotes. And they even offer wine tastings, a showcase of their own fruit flavoured wines for tasting and purchasing.
But for me the allure is their goat yoga classes and the ability to do it while drinking wine. However the timing was off and we weren’t able to secure a spot in that class, so this is my recap of regular goat yoga; still good, but admittedly just not as enticing as a glass of red in one hand and the petting of a goat in the other. All while comfortable in stretchy yoga wear, sitting barefoot on a foamy mat.
When I agreed to participate in “goat yoga” I didn’t realize the distance I would have to drive to get there. 56km, and I made the mistake of giving myself only 1 hour to commute. Therefore we were late by the time we found parking in their small gravel lot.
A chalkboard sign directs you into the above mentioned grocery store of sorts. There, the clerk behind the cash desk points you in the right direction of the right barn. A white building aged from the elements. Inside, you are instructed to pack away your shoes and purse, as the goats will in fact try to take a nibble of both if left unattended. You then claim your place amongst the others by laying your yoga mat out in one of the parallel lines that take up the entire room. Despite the travel time, our entire class was booked, it was literally a full barn.
A representative from the farm thanks you for attending and introduces you to the class to come; including an introduction to the instructor: a certified yogi for the hour. Our yoga instructor told us to go at your pace, taking on movements and motions to make the class your own. She reassured us it was okay to be afraid of the goats, and that she felt the same when when she first started teaching in this barn. She emphasized fun and that it is what you make of it. In my case, it was less about stretching, and more about taking candids of the goats.
To get a better idea of what doing yoga with goats is like, check out my latest video on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
Admittedly the goats are a distraction to the yoga process. Goat feed is placed before every mat, in order to lure them to you. And as they nibble you pet and photograph. But watch out for your hair, if available they will try to chew through that as well, true story. But if the goats get out of hand, cause too much of a disruption to you, or if you look too uncomfortable by them, there are two handlers on site to help steer them away or direct them to something else more willing. These individuals are equipped with brooms and pails should any of these farm animals decide to relieve themselves. It didn’t happen to me, but one of the attendees did have her yoga mat urinated on by one of the goats. And one of the farm employees was quick with the paper towel to soak it all up.
The goats are harmless, they roam about looking for food, most gnawed at the wooden supports of the barn; but a few grew bored of doing that, so curled their hoofs under themselves and went to sleep.
If you missed out on some quality goat time during the session, there are plenty of opportunity to get close to the goats after the class. During this time staged selfies are possible.
To end time, everyone gets a snack of chai ice tea and samosas with dip. All of which are prepared at the farm using their home grown ingredients. This enjoyed outside, away from hungry and brazen goats.
The rest of the time is yours, your $40 fee includes admission to the farm and the ability to roam and engage in some of the above mentioned activities. For us the jungle gym and the fighting with the kids at a birthday party to pet the available farm animals didn’t seem all that appealing. So we found ourselves in their shop salivating over fresh baked cookies with jams and taking part in their wine tasting. $5 gave you a taste of 4 out of their 8 fruit dessert wine offerings.
Unfortunately they are no longer offering goat yoga or goat yoga with wine classes. But I advised staying in touch through their website to be able to book a class if and when they do become available. For now, they have other yoga classes available and a lot of other different activities to have you visiting them this summer.
790 McKenzie Road, Abbotsford BC, V2S 7N4