Like any yoga class, the sessions begin with some basic breathing exercises.
In, and out. In, and out.
But then, the peaceful ambiance is broken, and the stampede begins, as six to seven baby goats come bounding into the room.
That’s the concept of a class being hosted in Easthampton later this month by Valley Hot Yoga, called “Goat Yoga For Charity.”
“It’s just yoga with baby goats running around,” explains Shae Blaisdell, who co-owns the studio. “They jump on people’s backs, lie on people’s mats — they just play.”
The April 21, event promises to “blend movements and gentle stretches with the playful antics of live kid goats.”
Organizers advise that people dress comfortably “and in clothes that are suitable for yoga yet allow you to interact with goats,” according to event details.
Also, be prepared for certain things that baby goats are known to do, like “poop/pee,” the details further warn.
“We have a team that will quickly clean up after such an event,” organizers said. “But please be aware that there is the possibility of these substances encountering your belongings.”
The charity event will raise money for the Easthampton Community Center, Easthampton Farmers Market, and Dakin Humane Society. It will take place in a studio space at Keystone Enterprises.
The Baaaa-d news? It’s already full.
However, Blaisdell and her wife, Audrey Jones Blaisdell, who teaches the class, hope to offer additional opportunities in the future.
“It all depends on how fast the goats grow. But if we can squeeze in two or three more classes we would love to do that,” she said. “But they do grow fast.”
Blaisdell said in a telephone interview that the idea to mix the barnyard animals with the serenity that yoga has to offer stemmed from a national trend.
She said the owners of Sage Meadow Farm, which is also in Easthampton, approached her and suggested that the two businesses team up, and give the odd pairing a try. The session later this month will mark the third such class.
Goat Yoga, it seems, is sweeping the nation.
For example, a New Hampshire farm last week posted to Facebook photographs of their own event. The images went viral, and the hosts, Jenness Farm, said classes were booked solid.
“Our classes for May sold out in a little over 24 hours,” the farm said.
In a second post, they wrote, “Due to an OVERWHELMING response to our yoga class, we now have a waiting list of 350+.”
Blaisdell experienced a similar reaction when she announced her own event series.
“They have been hugely successful,” she said. “We were able to raise quite a bit of money so far.”
She said people are excited because it’s a way to try yoga, but to also let loose.
“People will say, ‘I can’t meditate, I can’t sit still.’ And sometimes meditation can just be being in the moment with a baby goat,” she said, “and having fun.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.