WALKING INTO a yoga class as a beginner can be daunting. The practice is harder than it looks, and many newbies feel, well, awkward. Enter animal yoga. The trend started with goats, and it’s still going strong, expanding to a menagerie. That doesn’t surprise Erin Peckinpaugh, organizer of goat yoga at the 2021 Indiana State Fair. “There can be a lot of intimidation with yoga,” she says. “But when you’re here, you’re not thinking of anything other than that animal on the mat with you. People leave having laughed and been present.” Looking to ease your entry into yogidom? Then prepare to get your om on with critters.
Peckinpaugh works with Brownsburg nonprofit Oinking Acres Farm Rescue and Sanctuary to bring potbelly pigs to yoga sessions at Traders Point Creamery throughout the year. Spots go fast.
As one of the smartest in the animal kingdom, pigs, believe it or not, are ace yoga partners. They encourage by wagging their corkscrew tails like dogs, snuggle up to yogis on their mats, and—an added bonus—are easily housebroken.
Rabbits have taken over the pop-up yoga sessions at Metazoa Brewing Company—quite literally. They comically hop onto participants’ backs or refuse to budge from yoga mats, according to organizer Deanna Poon. “If you’re coming for a super-serious yoga session, it isn’t for you,” she adds. “Expect giggles, cameras, and probably poop.”
Want to check extra creatures off of your yoga bucket list? Then you’re in luck: Poon, secretary for Plainfield rescue nonprofit A Critter’s Chance, sometimes brings in mice, hedgehogs, and rats.
If yoga with nuzzling piggies or headstrong hares isn’t your speed, Montrose Farms’ fan favorite, slow Vinyasa yoga with its resident alpacas, offers a more chill option. It’s just one of the farm’s events dedicated to the gentle animals, a list that includes laughter yoga, meditation, painting classes, and wine tastings.
Alpacas are more respectful of personal space than other animals, says farm owner Lori Lovely. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try to catch a sniff of your outstretched hand during your warrior II pose.