Local Optimist Club hosting goat yoga fundraiser

Osseous/Flickr accessed under Creative Commons CC by 2.0 license Goat yoga involves mini goats, as seen in this example from 2018.

Yoga and animals go hand in hand.

There’s downward dog, cobra pose and cat-cow. But what about goats?

Goat yoga is a real thing, and thanks to the Prince Albert Optimist Club, it’s coming to the city this summer.

They’re not kidding around. The organization is partnering with Inspire30 Lifestyle and Fitness to put on a one-day only goat yoga class to raise funds for renovating the Snoezelen Room at École Vickers School.

According to the event’s poster, it’s exactly what it sounds like — yoga with goats.

The classes are designed to be a fun, and unique way to “tap into your zen” while hanging out with some friendly goats.

As George Lewko of the Optimist Club explained, it didn’t take much goading to get the fundraiser going.

“We got an email offering to help us with our fundraiser,” he said.

“Everyone is really enthused and excited. We seem to be getting lots of responses to it.”

The furry friends are mini goats, Lewko said, “so there’s not like a big goat jumping on you. And they’re really friendly. It looks pretty cool.”

Robin Bonneau, owner of Inspire30, said the concept is “quite interesting,” but they weren’t sure it was going to take off as well as it did.

“(Instructor Kristy Hoornick) pulled it off.”

Hoornick is from Ontario, loves animals and has been involved with goat yoga before, Bonneau said. She wanted to bring it to P.A.

“We want to get into the community and help out more,” she said.

“We want to bring some new things to Prince Albert as well.”

The goats might wander up to you, curious as you hold a pose, or jump up on your back. The practice started a few years ago and has since exploded in popularity across North America.

According to CNN, Lainey Morse of Albany, Oregon is credited with founding goat yoga. She holds the classes at her farm, where goats have access to guests during their practice.

“Goats are perfect for the yoga practice because it’s not only combining nature and animals, it’s combining yoga, and they all go together so well,” Morse said in 2017.

She started offering goat yoga when a mom approached her during a children’s birthday party with an interesting suggestion. The mom taught yoga and said she should host a class. Morse agreed, so long as the goats were able to join in.

The concept proved a success.

“The most fun part for me is watching people’s faces when a little goat comes up to them while they’re doing a yoga pose. It’s a distraction, but it’s a happy distraction,” Morse told CNN.

She said the goats bring calm to people. She also uses them in animal-assisted therapy.

The practice started in 2016. Now, it can be found across the US and in big cities in Canada, including Toronto and Vancouver.

Now, for one day only, it’s coming to Prince Albert.

“I guess they’ve done cat and dog yoga in Prince Albert, but no one has ever done goat yoga,” Lewko said.

The event, though, is about more than just fitness and fun.

While you stretch into child’s pose, you’ll be helping an actual child feel comfortable at school.

The Optimist Club is hoping to renovate and restore the Snoezelen Room.

“There’s lots of stuff to touch and feel,” Lewko said.

The sensory room is designed to develop senses, through special lighting, music and objects. It can be used as a therapy for children with limited communication skills.

The Optimist Club first donated to the room in 2001 and has since donated to one in Carlton.

The original project needs a major upgrade to the tune of $50,000. The original plan was to make that room the focus of this fall’s annual gala.

This year’s gala, though, was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“This is the start of the whole campaign. We’re having an online auction later on, too,” Lewko said.

‘We didn’t want to go too fast with COVID and businesses getting shut down. We’re trying to come up with other things we can do.”

Once goat yoga has come and gone, they’ll be looking towards that auction, both for donations and for people to participate and help with fundraising.

For now the focus is on goat yoga.

The support, Lewko said, has been “overwhelming.

“People really seem to love goats, and the mini goats are way too cute.”

Goat yoga runs on Aug. 15 at the Exhibition Grounds under the grandstand. Class times are 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $30 per person, and suitable for all ages. Children need to be accompanied by an adult, have a purchased spot and be six years old or older.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, only those registered can participate in the class. There will be no spectators.

For more information, visit the Optimist Club or Insipre30 on Facebook.