Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a goat yoga class at Honey Creek Creamery. It was the perfect way to end the work week and kickoff a spring weekend.
Only a short drive outside of Council Bluffs, near Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek Creamery sits on a hill covered by shady trees, patrolled by fluffy Great Pyrenees and surrounded by goats and cows. If you’re an animal lover like myself, you will be delighted from the moment you park and are greeted by quizzical cows and goats wondering if you’ve come to feed them their evening meal.
After disappointing the cows, I and other participants signed in and then set up our yoga mats in a grassy pen outside. While waiting for the baby goats to arrive, the class was treated to the presence of one of the Great Pyrenees dogs who meandered his way into the pen begging for pets. He got them.
The real treat came when Honey Creek Creamery owners and staff began to bring out the baby goats, dropping them into the pen with the excited guests. The goats stumbled slowly and unsurely around, every so often bursting into a sudden jump or bleat of excitement before returning to their cautious exploring.
As the class began, the yoga instructor was quick to admit that he was, obviously, not the main event. He encouraged everyone to take as many breaks from yoga as they wanted to watch and pet the goats. While some kept up with his changes in positions, others — like myself — stayed on alert for the baby goats. Some were on the lookout for fear of being jumped on, while others kept a watchful eye to see if a goat wandered close for pets and love.
The young goats, known as kids, all had different personalities. One sweet little guy spent the last half of the class snuggled up in one lucky guest’s lap — the same way a sleepy puppy would. I wasn’t quite as fortunate but did seem to have one kid that really liked me.
So much so that he spent quite a bit of time trying to nibble on my fingers, ponytail and the collar of my shirt. The nibbles didn’t hurt and he was so cute that I may have even encouraged him.
Others were not quite as enthralled by the goats’ nibbling or their bathroom accidents — they are animals after all.
As one girl said to a baby goat halfway through relieving itself, “No, please. This yoga mat is Lululemon.”
Throughout the yoga lesson, goat handlers were on site to pick up any accidents and make sure as many people as possible had time with the goats. During yoga positions like plank and downward dog, the handlers would pick up baby goats, placing them on participants backs or stomachs.
The entire evening was enchanting. The yoga moves were relaxing, the goats were adorable and watching the sunset from the shade of the creamery’s beautiful trees felt like a vacation.
After the class ended, participants were invited back to the creamery’s barn to view the goat nursery where two kids had been born mere hours before we all arrived.
The evening ended with the nursery tour and samples of wine, cheese and gelato (all Friday classes end with a sampling). As folks sipped wine and tried different cheeses, a barn cat made his way around looking for pets and a certain Great Pyrenees dog made his way back to his favorite guest. As the sun set on the creamery, the dog and the guest sat side-by-side enjoying the view while goats merrily ran around pens in the background. An adorable ending to an adorable experience.
Goat yoga lessons learned:
1) Wear clothes you are okay getting dirty
2) Bring an old or cheap yoga mat — the goats may have accidents!
3) Take an allergy pill if allergic to animals or hay — I’m allergic to the latter and was struggling by the end of the evening.
4) Take lots of photos.
Try it for yourself. There’s still time to sign up for a class at Honey Creek Creamery, but do so soon! Goat yoga classes can only be held in the springtime when the babies are small. Classes will fill up quick.