Yoga with goats inspires joy in participants

Sarah Shadburne                                     James Hughes

Assistant A&F Editor                                     Multimedia Editor

sshadbur@unca.edu                                      jhughes3@unca.edu

The event began as a joke between friends weary from the 14 to 16 hour work days on the farm. Sitting by the fire spitballing ideas it came — yoga, disco, plus goats — and the Farm Friend Bend Disgoat yoga began.

“It doesn’t matter how old I am in years, I’m young at heart and I love disco,” said Frances Tacy aka Farmer Franny, owner of Franny’s Farm and hostess of the Farm Friend Bend. “It’s great music to practice yoga to and it’s October, let’s face it everybody gets to dress up this month.”

Tacy said she and her friend Taylon Breeden, owner of Far Out Farmstead, were inspired by the goat yoga craze that began last year in Oregon, additionally prompted by various links and posts from Tacy’s Facebook followers.

“We saw in Portland they had a waiting list of about 500 people for their goat yoga over there,” Breeden said. “I told Franny we could do it in Asheville especially, people love to do funky things.”

The Farm Friend Bend on Franny’s Farm originally began in April, making sporadic appearances at least once a month inviting people to the farm for an hour of low-intensity yoga with frolicking baby goats and goat-friendly disco music.

“I love a little Donna Summer,” Tacy said. “And I’ve done yoga through my whole life and it’s such a great way to expand your light.”

Participants of all ages enjoy goat yoga at the Farm Friend Bend on Franny’s Farm. Photos by James Hughes. 

Breeden said before the goat yoga sessions, she had only ever taken one class prior, but she has raised goats for about four and a half years. She occasionally will do the poses if the goats behave themselves.

“We sell out every class, and it’s just a blast,” Tacy said. “It’s a great way for people to feel good; there’s so much chaos in the world, let’s just take a break, feel good and come back to Franny’s Farm.”

Franny’s Farm serves as a fully -functional sustainable farm as well as a private events venue. Tacy said the farm hosts many private events featuring yoga, such as business retreats and  parties.

Chasity Burleson, yoga practitioner for eight years and instructor for three, teaches Farm Friend Bend after having Tacy as a private client.

“I think it’s fabulous because if people are not used to yoga, coming to a class like this makes it less intimidating,” Burleson said. “Having baby goats around, you can’t be really nervous, and you know people aren’t looking at you.”

Burleson said she receives a lot of feedback from students anxious about attending yoga classes for fear of being watched, doing postures wrong and the general intimidating aspect of going to a studio for class.

“You lose a lot of your inhibitions and it becomes more lighthearted and fun when you’re in a room full of baby goats,” Burleson said. “The attention is on the interaction with the animals.”

Burleson always uses joy and happiness as the intention for the practice when she teaches Disgoat, including incorporating funky dance moves into the poses where appropriate.

“I love it. It’s always really exciting to see people’s faces when they come in and see the baby goats,” Breeden said. “They’re obviously here for the goats but it’s pretty neat to see people connect with local farmers.”

Each session fills the room with giggles, Donna Summers and The Bee Gees, Burleson said.

“I want people to leave feeling completely joyful,” Burleson said. “That they were able to completely let go.”

The next Farm Friend Bend will be two sessions on Oct. 29 on Franny’s Farm at 4:30 p.m. and again 6 p.m.

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