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Off the mat.

Goat yoga. It's a thing.

YOU'RE STANDING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED ON A YOGA MAT, your hands folded in front of your heart. You close your eyes. A warm breeze ruffles your hair as a Zen-toned voice instructs you to take a deep breath. You inhale, filling your lungs with fresh air, then slowly exhale. A sense of calm falls over you.

Then something furry brushes against your leg. It's a goat.

Welcome to Geraldson Community Farm's monthly goat yoga classes--yes, we said goat yoga. The classes, held in the farm's barn, are attended by about 20 people and a dozen goats from Yolker's Wilde Hatchery and Dairy Goats.

Operations manager Christa Leonard says she got the idea after learning that goat yoga classes in Portland, Oregon, had become popular. She says it's a great way to fund raise for the nonprofit farm--especially H during the summer, when Geraldson doesn't have crops to sell. Besides, she adds, "Who doesn't love goats?"

As you might expect, the class focuses more on goat patting and fun than it does on working out--although you'll still get a good stretch if you want to. As students move into downward dog pose, the goats wander around, chewing on hay, stopping to stare into people's faces and, occasionally leaving droppings in their wake. Sometimes they walk right across your mat, pausing to nuzzle your hair.

"We clean out the barn and gate off the door," Leonard explains. "We get all kinds of people, and we sell out every time. Sometimes people don't even end up doing the yoga; they just end up petting the goats."

For more information, visit geraldsoncommunityfarm.org.

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Title Annotation:heat index
Author:McDonald, Megan
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 2017
Words:275
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