It always seems the best stories stem from a change in our original plans.
Jamie and Max own the “it” thing to do in Nashville right now. With yoga studios all over the city, you’d think there wouldn’t be any room for another. Thankfully these two were able to find their place and breathe life into Shenanigoats Yoga.
What started as a team of two goats with the plan to keep Jamie and Max's 47 acre farm free from overgrowth and brush turned into a sizable herd of Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goat yogis. Max believed that others would love to have the benefit of goat landscaping on their own properties but Jamie waved that idea off as silly. This past April, much to Jamie’s surprise, a request was posted in the Nextdoor app asking for goats for a brush clearing job. Turns out Max was onto something the whole time in believing that this was a need that others had.
One thing led to the next and friends and strangers requested that they make goat yoga happen here in Nashville. And I’m so glad they took that chance.
For the past three years I have ran with the local country radio station’s team, Team BIG 98 for St. Jude for the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Half and Full Marathons. Every year the team tries to find more ways to raise money for children fighting cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last year our team gained a new member, Megan Hogue, who this year became a co-captain of Team BIG 98. And fortunately for us, that meant we would get the chance to benefit from goat yoga for more than just the obvious good feelings that come from playing with goats.
With a friend coming into town, Megan signed up for Shenanigoats Yoga for something fun to do. Thinking that there was an opportunity for Team BIG 98 to pull in more money for the kids at St. Jude, Megan reached out to see if Jamie wanted to set something up if possible. Within minutes Jamie was eager to find out what she could do to help the cause. The end result was a double header of yoga classes on September 30th with $10 from each ticket being donated to St. Jude.
I had been interested in trying Shenanigoats Yoga since I saw a posting about it on Facebook in June. When my team was holding classes as a fundraiser, I just couldn’t pass it up any longer. My experience was as follows:
I tossed and turned the night before with incessant dreams of goat yoga. I dreamt I showed up to class, unrolled my mat among other yogis, and quickly realized I was at the YMCA when I knew the class was actually being held at the green space near the local café Bongo East. I had accidentally ended up at a non-goat based yoga class and was running late to get across town for Shenanigoats. I’m so glad this was just a dream contrived by my mind that was obviously very excited about goats and yoga.
I showed up to the noon class on the morning of the 30th and set my mat beside other women I had never met before. We all made friends with one another, and soon I met other girls who were also a part of the Team BIG 98 family. After some time snuggling goats, the class began.
Our instructor for the class was Brianne Burgoon. She works at TriStar Centennial Medical Center where she is an art therapist. With her Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling she helps groups through art therapy, yoga, and mindfulness. She also has her RYT-200 through Sanctuary for Yoga. I have taken a handful of yoga classes in the past few years, always feeling that Restorative Yoga best helped me, and following the goat yoga class with Brianne I felt her instruction was fantastic for all levels of yogis. She was an incredible instructor, especially when considering the added and unpredictable element of goats. Our class ranged from young children to middle aged folks, all trying to just find their zen with the perfect combination of the sweet goats and Brianne’s calm and helpful instruction.
Initially seeing the pictures online, I figured goat yoga would be fun and adorable, but I didn’t realize the intense happiness that it would bring me throughout the class and into the rest of my day as I continued to tell friends and coworkers what I had done that morning. Having a small goat jump onto your back, or lazily sit on your feet extended into the air is a feeling that really can’t be conveyed through anything else but experience.
Before I left the class I stopped to thank Jamie for putting together such an incredible event, and for helping Team BIG 98 and the kids at St. Jude. That was when she pointed out her friend since fourth grade, Sasha. Sasha is a two time cancer survivor and when she heard about the fundraiser for St. Jude she decided to fly into Nashville from Denver to see it in person. Sitting in the pen doing yoga poses or just loving on the goats, people tend to walk by and take pictures and video or just stand around to watch for a little while. I just assumed Sasha was another person doing just that, when in fact she was so much more. Having never seen the goat yoga sessions in person, it all finally made sense to her to hear the laughter the goats brought to those attending the class. Overall, the classes promote happiness. In the restorative yoga classes I have taken, I always walk away feeling a sense of peace. Following my class with Shenanigoats however, I felt peace and complete bliss for the first time in a while.
Celebrity guests at Shenanigoats have included country singer Maren Morris, Dan Smyers from Dan and Shay, and the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo. Shenanigoats has received recognition as the #1 Thing to do in Nashville by the Tennessean, they have been featured on StyleBlueprint Nashville, and were the first Music City Must on Fox5.
Currently in the works is a book based on the greatness brought by Shenanigoats through Turner Publishing titled “Goat Yoga: the Light in Me Honors the Goat in You.” Pre-orders are now open on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for an October 31st release. If you can’t make the trip to Nashville to experience the fun, bring the fun home to you to enjoy all the wonderful pictures of goats happily doing yoga among their human counterparts.
The classes on September 30th ended up raising $500 for the kids at St. Jude and promoted happiness while doing so. For that I am so grateful to Jamie and Max for taking that chance to branch out their business into such a fun and positive thing. Come hang out with their kids (goat pun intended) sometime and experience your own shenanigans at Shenanigoats Yoga.
If you'd like to join Team BIG 98 in raising money for St. Jude or join our team for the 2018 race series, check out our team page here or contact me with any questions. :)