If you want to understand joy as experienced by a roomful of weary adults at 9:00 on a Saturday morning, know this: A goat walking on your back does not feel like a massage.
Our yoga instructor told us it might feel soothing, but really it was more like a fuzzy and very determined toddler showing off their balancing skills on the lower rungs of my spine. Yet we all launched into our finest cat/cow, covered our clothes in crunchy pellets, and invited a room full of tiny horned friends to enjoy a snack inches away from our organs.
Why? Because goat yoga is like being a kid who is having a really, really idealistic childhood. It’s like plucking a whimsical dream out of your subconscious and setting it down on land, so you can walk around inside it with 20 extremely stoked strangers.
It’s magical, and not just in its uncanny ability to inspire likes and heart eye emoji-laced comments.
Goat yoga is a very chill, beginner-friendly yoga class where half of your classmates are replaced by baby goats. But these hooved yogis have no interest in perfecting their downward dog. Instead, they’re on a mission to snack, tussle, and collect ear scratches. Relatable.
Lemos Farm, aka goat yoga central, looks like an illustration from a children’s book. There are signs at every turn for pony rides, homemade pies, and farm birthday parties.
I arrive at 8:30am on a Saturday and the farm is largely empty. It smells like hay and dirt and early summer mornings, before anyone else is up. It feels like the country, except it’s Half Moon Bay, a town that’s barely half an hour outside of San Francisco.
The class takes place in a big, airy barn (read: drafty, for you fellow cold-blooded yogis) with a hay-covered floor. I tentatively unfurl my mat. Quickly realizing it’s about to be covered in grime and goat hooves, I roll it back up and borrow a mat instead. Pro tip: They have plenty of yoga mats, so you can skip giving your own mat a post-goat-yoga deep clean. As for coats, purses, and general ephemera: Make sure to stash it in a high place. Goats tend to see your personal belongings as a private buffet.
But the real buffet takes place at the edge of each mat, where a small pile of goat food is placed to lure your furry friends toward you. There’s lots of chatter, food poking, and light stretching before the room goes completely quiet. It buzzes.
The anticipation is broken by the clatter of what sounds like a million tiny hooves. Goats rush in en masse to get at those sweet, crunchy pellets.
My class is graced with a guest star: a lone miniature pig, carpeted in wiry fur, sporting a piece of hay affixed above one eye like a cartoonish fake eyelash. She, too, is on a mission for crunchy bits, and though she is headbutted by tiny goat bullies, she continues to march through the room and snorf up all the food she can find. (Snorf is the appropriate word for watching a mini pig push her wiggly little snout into a pile of pellets.)
So the goats and lone pig are here and everyone is poised on their yoga mats, ready for an intense yoga workout.
Just kidding, everyone has completely forgotten that this is a yoga class. The mats are more like our private petting zoo chambers. Goats trot over in packs and picnic at the corners of the mat. You can pick up fistfuls of food and offer it open-palmed so they’ll eat out of your hand.
The few times I actually do a yoga pose, the real fun isn’t loosening the kinks in my upper back. It’s doing a bridge pose and spying two goats staring back at me as my head hangs upside down.
As the instructor guides us through poses, two baby goats pop up on a platform behind her, lock horns, and spend the rest of the class taking turns knocking each other onto the ground. There’s a fair amount of fighting among our new goat friends, but when it comes to their human yoga buddies, they’re completely gentle.
In between petting baby goats and trying to coax a small obstinate pig into eating out of my hand, I do a few stretches, which is more than I would usually do before noon on a Saturday. After about 50 minutes of “yoga,” we are free to hang out with the goats while instructors help us pose pictures. Two goats are lured onto my back and while it doesn’t exactly feel like a massage, it does make me laugh until my eyes water at the total silliness and joy of having a back covered in baby goats.
Would I go back?
Yes, yes, 1,000 times yes. This would be super fun for a group, a date, solo — really, what version of petting and feeding a room full of baby goats isn’t fun? Remember to bring: a sweater for the drafty room, socks for meandering around the hay-covered floor, allergy pills for the 90 minutes in a dusty barn full of hay and animal fur, and a change of clothes to explore Half Moon Bay after rolling around on the ground, covered in goat food and the goats who love it.
If you do pack that change of clothes, after class you’re in beautiful Half Moon Bay where you can hit the Saturday farmers market or snorf some brunch of your own. Goat yoga is just the beginning of a delightful Saturday schedule that will have you feeling accomplished, outdoorsy, and like you’ve been drinking up country air in a place you could easily Uber to.
If you’re ready for your own goat yoga adventure, snag a ticket to Yoga with the Goats at Lemos Farm. They offer goat yoga most weekends, but each class sells out fast, so buy your ticket ASAP.