Metro-East Living

This local farm offers yoga classes with a twist — goats

You won't mind having these kids in yoga class — goat yoga that is

In Pocahontas, Green Finned Hippy Farm offers goat yoga classes.
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In Pocahontas, Green Finned Hippy Farm offers goat yoga classes.

Most yoga classes do not involve practitioners pulling out their phones to take photos and videos.

But most yoga classes don’t offer the chance to take a selfie with a baby goat.

“I don’t even know what to say about this. It’s goat yoga. Who would think?” asked Brittany Liesmann, of Highland, before her first goat yoga class at Green Finned Hippy Farm in Pocahontas last week.

Liesmann is a flight nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, and attended the goat yoga class in Pocahontas with her coworker Alex Kostel.

“They’re like weird dogs,” Kostel said before the class, eying the goats’ antics.

Josh and Alicia Davis, of Green Finned Hippy Farm, started hosting the class April 1. Classes were quickly filled.

“It’s not really that interesting to us,” he said of the goats and their behavior. “But city people think it is.”

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The next class is Saturday, and a class is scheduled for June 10 as well.

The goats are LaManchas, Alpine, and an Alpine-Saanen mix and are a friendly, nibbly lot. The Davises milk them as part of the Green Finned Hippy Farm model. Each goat has a personality, Josh Davis said. A goat named Ghost shies from people, while baby goat Snow gets right in the middle of things.

Toots, another baby goat, is an attention-hog, as yoga instructor Regina Dieker, of New Baden, discovered. Dieker has taught hatha yoga for about 15 years, but never before with goats in attendance.

She quickly started talking to the goats nearly as much as the class.

I don’t even know what to say about this. It’s goat yoga. Who would think?

Brittany Liesmann, a flight nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland

“I’ve been a customer (at Green Finned Hippy Farm) for a while — watch it there, buddy,” she said as a goat discovered her mat.

“We’re going to start by lying down on the mat,” she said, waving vaguely at her own mat now acting as a bed for Toots. “Settle into your surroundings ...”

It didn’t take long for the goats, somewhat enticed by a bucket of food or at the urging of the Davises, to begin wandering among the yoga practitioners.

“That’s what you wanted, right?” Dieker asked as the group laughed at a small goat nibbling on a woman’s curly hair.

“OK little goat, so I’m going to work around you. My cat does this but he moves,” she says to the goat settled into her mat. Toots remains curled up under Dieker’s knees as she lies back on the mat.

Dieker leads the class through some boat poses, although most of the class seems distracted and is taking photos of the goats. Kostel manages to hold boat pose — a seated position where the feet are lifted so the calves are parallel to the ground, and the head and torso raised into a sit up — while she videos the goat on Dieker’s mat.

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Finally Dieker gives up and tries to scoot little Toots off her mat.

“Here we’ll take him!” Liesmann said, and she and Kostel were further enthralled with Toots while Dieker demonstrated the next set of poses.

Valerie and Mark Piekutowski drove to Pocahontas from O’Fallon, Illinois, for the class. Valerie enjoys yoga, and the couple likes to try “new adventures.” After the class, they planned to take a bike ride along the Madison County trails.

“This is apparently the new rage,” Valerie Piekutowski said. She had seen online videos of goat yoga classes. “I thought it was hilarious.”

Before class, Valerie got to bottle-feed a kid whose mother had rejected it.

Mark was at least as interested in what the goats could do. “We do have a pretty big yard,” he said as the couple discussed the chances that the city of O’Fallon would allow goats. “I think we ought to show up at the next meeting.”

In addition to milking goats, Green Finned Hippy Farm sells eggs, chickens and hogs. They have about 325 chickens, including Golden Nuggets, Ameraucanas, Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks.

One of the farm’s “bread and butters” is the American Mulefoot hogs, a rare breed prized for its intramuscular fat distribution and flavor.

“We have to aim this at the right demographic,” Josh Davis said, having recently sold a hog to the Vicia restaurant in St. Louis.

Want to go?

  • When: Goat yoga is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday and June 10
  • Where: Green Finned Hippy Farm, 256 Hickory St., Pocahontas
  • Cost: $10
  • Reservations: Recommended, call 618-669-2897 or go to www.facebook.com/GfhFarms
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