Yoga usually includes a mat, comfortable clothes and lots of stretching. Sweet Home Farm outside of Bonners Ferry is adding a new element – baby goats.
The new business will start offering family goat yoga, sunrise goat yoga and sunset goat yoga on May 26. It’s located along the Kootenai River at 5040 Westside Road, just north of the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.
The instructor, students and goats will be in an outdoor enclosed area for the classes.
“The goats pretty much determine what they want to do,” said owner Barbara Castellan.
There will be assistants on hand to help wrangle the goats as needed. The goats will be babies when the season starts, but they are Nigerian Pygmy goats and won’t get larger than 35 pounds.
Each session offers more than just goat yoga, however. A breakfast buffet follows the sunrise class, brunch is served after the family class and a wine tasting hosted by Heart Rock Wines of Bonners Ferry follows the sunset class.
“I wanted it to be a fun day,” Castellan said of her extra offerings. “I wanted people to really make it a day in the country.”
There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails in the area for those who want to take advantage of it.
“You can just hike right into the National Forest right out my back door,” she said.
The family goat yoga session at 10 a.m. each Saturday is designed for children older than age 6. The yoga session itself is 20 minutes long, followed by play time with the goats for 40 minutes.
The class is okay for children who have not done yoga before, Castellan said.
“It’s not anything intense,” she said. “People will get distracted and they’ll probably be laughing a lot.”
The other two yoga classes run for 60 minutes each. The sunset session, offered at 5 p.m. each Saturday, is limited to those age 21 and over because of the wine tasting portion. The sunrise session begins at 9 a.m. each Friday. Each session is $48 per adult. Children ages 6-8 are free in the family yoga class and youth ages 9-16 are $12.
Every yoga session includes photo opportunities with the goats. Castellan also offers a guest room through Airbnb for those who want to stay over. The yoga sessions and the guest room can be booked at www.sweethomegoatyoga.com
Castellan lived in the Chicago area for most of her life, working as a social worker, a city planner and as the executive director of a community center for 19 years. She discovered Bonners Ferry after her son began attending a school in the area. Castellan visited often and fell in love with the location and the people.
“It was so different than the life that I knew in the inner city,” she said. “It was a very peaceful place.”
She bought her property 20 years ago and moved here after she retired in 2012. She’s been looking for something to do with her small farm and stumbled across goat yoga online last year.
“It was just crazy enough for me,” she said. “I can’t not do something.”
In addition to keeping her busy, Castellan hopes her goat yoga business will help soothe people’s spirits.
“It makes people laugh,” she said. “It makes people happy. There’s not enough of that.”