Wilkes University’s Residence Hall Council (RHC) hosted a goat yoga event on Tuesday, Sept. 10 for interested students. RHC invited a company called Buttinhead Farms to teach a goat yoga class to serve as a time for students to come and enjoy a fun, mindful activity.
The idea was proposed by Student Body President Alanah Guerrero, who heard of the fun, relatively new activity. RHC hosted and sponsored the event.
“It was something new and fun. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just unique, you wouldn’t think of goats and yoga together. it was also a good relaxer for everyone,” said Ivy Kusi, sophomore pre-pharmacy major and RHC President.
The event was held outside of the Evans and Roth residence halls where a large enclosure placed around the grassy area so that the goats could not escape. The area was filled with students and their yoga mats as well as baby and mature goats roaming around leisurely.
Some students participated in the miniature yoga class while others stopped by to spend time with the goats. It’s hard to say who loved the affection more, the students or the goats, as these goats are specially trained to bond with people.
“It seemed like a great opportunity to take some time for myself and connect with friends,” said Allyssa Olear, sophomore political science and international studies major. “The combination of being active and outside while surrounded by goats can really boost your mood.”
All of the attendees were scrambling to get a goat on them. They would get into several different poses and waited there until a goat was either placed on them or jumped onto them.
There were also people sprinkling food onto the participants so that the goats would be more inclined to jump on them. The goats wanted to get the food, so they would jump anywhere, even on top of someone, to get it.
Originally, RHC only opened the event up with 50 registration spots that were first-come, first-serve. A few people had to be placed on a waiting list. However, they eventually allowed 65 people to participate.
Although the number of spots was maxed out, RHC still allowed people to come and play with the goats if they so desired.
Most people made sure to get several photos and selfies with the goats to document the unique experience.
Buttin Head Farms is a newer company in the Wilkes-Barre area that is one of a kind, even though goat yoga has been a growing trend in the media. The trend was adopted in NEPA thanks to the company owner, Ashley Raspen.
Raspen had been a professional fitness instructor for several years before opening the goat-based company. As a side hobby, she began getting into goat farming at her farm located in Hunlock, Pa.
She started her goat yoga journey when she did yoga with her goats in her free time. After incessant encouragement from people around her, including her fitness clients, Ashley decided to combine the two things she loved most into one.
Thus, Buttinhead Farms was born in May of this year.
She started doing pop-up launches in breweries and bars around the area. From there, people loved it so much and gave her such positive feedback that it snowballed into her being able to go to many other different events as well.
Buttinhead Farms provides their goats for a wide variety of occasions including birthday parties, weddings and now for different college events.
If you aren’t into yoga or aren’t sure you will like yoga, this can still be an activity for you.
“I do not have any expectations for anyone who comes into my fencing, except that they leave happier than they came,” said Ashley Raspen.
Sessions usually last up to an hour, and participants are not required to solely focus on performing the yoga poses. If spending an hour or so with goats is what you desire, Buttin Head Farms will continue to hold more events in the future and plan to return to Wilkes’ campus for future events.
Raspen explained that yoga on its own has proven to improve physical health, and it has also served as a means to relax. Animal therapy also releases endorphins in the brain that create a calming effect.
Combining these two activities together creates a blend of relaxation and exercise into one. Buttinhead Farms host small private parties of nine people at their property. At a private party, individuals will have the opportunity to meet the goats and preform yoga alongside them.
“It turned out really awesome. A lot of people asked for us to bring it back during finals week, so we are bringing it back in the spring for sure since it was such a success,” said Kusi.
If you missed out on goat yoga this time around, do not worry because Buttinhead Farms will return to Wilkes this December so that everyone can all enjoy the company of the goats as we wind down during finals week.
For more information on this event or other RHC events, contact [email protected] or come to the RHC’s weekly meetings that are held every Thursday.
To get in contact with Buttinhead Farms, contact Ashley Raspen at [email protected]