The Smithshyre farm on Foss Road near Poulsbo is perhaps best known for offering organic farm fresh foods, but now the farm is bringing a growing fad to the Kitsap Peninsula: goat yoga.
The trend of goat yoga started in Corvallis, Oregon — the current home of the “Original Goat Yoga World Headquarters Corporate Office” (no, seriously) — and has become a rising trend in the Yoga world, allowing folks to relax and have some fun with baby goats while also finding their center.
The Smithshyre Farm is on land formerly owned by the Foss family but is now owned by Erin and Roni Smith, who bought the property in 2013 and have been working hard to make it a functional farm, with the mission of providing simple clean food.
The idea for goat yoga at Smithshyre stemmed from a need for both money and milk.
“This is something that’s really exciting for us because when you’re a farmer it’s kind of hard to make money at agriculture and we are going to breed the goats because we need milk because Erin and I can’t drink cow milk, so we started doing goats and in order to have milk you have to have babies. After they have babies, they [the babies] drink the milk for the first eight weeks and then you get it for the rest of it, which is about 300 days,” Smith said.
After the first set of kids (baby goats) were born a woman from Oregon came up and bought some from the Smiths to start her own goat yoga studio and encouraged them to do so as well.
“We love the babies and they’re so much fun and people want to play with them. Some gal bought babies from us about two years ago to start a goat yoga program down in the Portland area and she told us ‘you guys should totally do it,’ we thought ‘we don’t know’ and then we thought ‘ why not?’” Smith said.
Goat yoga is not just a fun new twist on an ancient form of exercise and meditation, its also really good for the goats too, especially when it comes to socialization.
“It’s really important for the goats to be socialized as babies, otherwise they won’t be friends as adults, and then that makes it harder to milk them and harder to handle them as a whole. So this works in a lot of ways, plus they love interacting with people!” Smith said.
Erin Smith noted that goats have a lot of personality and that they enjoy jumping up on things anyway, so making the jump (literally) to humans mid-yoga-pose was a natural fit.
The farm began doing goat yoga in the summer and wanted to continue to offer it into the cold and rainy months. The Smiths were already in the process of restoring the 95-year-old barn on the property through an agricultural restoration grant and finished the roof just in time for the rainy season. The barn is currently being used as a space for their indoor goat yoga sessions.
The farm offers its own yoga mats so that folks don’t have to worry about their own being chewed or pooed on. Classes are 45 minutes and are taught by a certified instructor with a capacity of 16, except for private parties. After the session folks are free to cuddle with the baby goats or take a tour of the farm and interact with some of the other animals.