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Goat Yoga At Mad Lavender Farm


Article by Karen Kwong

Photography by Karen Kwong and Provided

Lavender fields are popular places for summer outdoor portraits in New Jersey. Every year, I research different lavender farms nearby for prime photo time. I discovered that Mad Lavender Farm in Milford, NJ not only has beautiful lavender fields for photos, but also offers goat yoga classes. They rolled out a series of "Sound Bath and Goat Yoga Therapy" workshops in August this year. I have long heard that animal yoga has great benefits for our overall wellness. Out of curiosity, I reached out to the farm and inquire about participating in one for my very first animal yoga and sound bath experience.

Meet the Instructor Ava Marino, Maitri Yoga

Ava is a certified yoga instructor who lives locally with her husband and two sons and her most favorite furry best friends - her dog Sid and cats Rocky and Louie (Source: Mad Lavender Farm website). She is passionate about healing yoga classes which include Restorative, Yin, Yoga Nidra, and Sound Baths. In addition to Mad Lavender Farm, she teaches yoga in Flemington, NJ and Clinton, NJ at several locations. She also teaches private sessions. You can reach her at and 908.303.5124.

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Ava teaching the Sound Bath and Goat Yoga Therapy Workshop

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Workshop Format

The workshop is held under the shade trees inside a paddock. During COVID-19, it is limited to 8 participants for social distancing. COVID-19 protocols have eliminated the tipi option, where goat yoga classes are held in the event of rain, as the events must be presented outdoors now. The farm used to provide the yoga mats along with a towel to cover the mat. However during COVID-19, to prepare for the workshop, you need to bring your own yoga mat, a towel to put under the mat, a water bottle, and your mask. Lavender Orange Hand Sanitizer and Bug Master made by the farm are supplied for your safety.

The session begins with a ceremonial smudge to cleanse the energy of negativity and initiate a calming atmosphere (Source: Mad Lavender Farm website).

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Then you will be immersed in a Sound Bath generated by Tibetan brass singing bowls. These bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation. They create a range of different sounds and frequencies that benefit the listener by “tuning up” our vibrational frequencies. Each part of our bodies has its own frequency and the sound of the bowls allow the body to harmonize out of sync frequencies to a healthier state. Tibetan singing bowls have been said to reduce stress and anxiety, improve circulation, balance energy centers throughout the body, increase mental clarity and promote an overall state of well being (Source: Mad Lavender Farm website).

Ava with a Tibetan brass singing bowl in her hand

Now it is time to introduce the friendly and curious baby Dwarf Nigerian goats.

Ava then would customize each group’s experience to the level of yoga they are comfortable with, their interaction with the baby goats and the safety and comfort of the group. 

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The baby goat standing on my back with the green collar on is "Princess Leia". She was given this name because she was born on May 4th. Both "Princess Leia" and "Muffin" had appeared in my June photoshoot of my girls at the farm.

Yoga with goats (or any animal) has been shown to be beneficial for not only your health but for your mind. It is also beneficial to the animals as well because they get plenty of affection, plenty of healthy exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation (Source: Mad Lavender Farm website).

"Animals are wonderful therapy additions to an already healing experience. You are surrounded by nature free of your normal distractions and able to surrender!" —Ava

Prior to COVID-19, the classes were larger with more goats in a session. Now the attendance is reduced by half to maintain social distancing. However, the instructor is able to customize the session to scale down without losing the personal experience and the benefits achieved from a goat yoga class.

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About Mad Lavender Farm

Mad Lavender Farm is owned by Adrienne & Don. They are artists and Don is also a musician and woodworker. The couple met 20 years ago and started a mural company together. They bought a house in Frenchtown, started a garden, raised some chickens and got involved with their town’s Green Team and other sustainability initiatives. In 2013, when Adrienne's parent’s 10 acre farm needed to be managed, they were ready and willing to step up.

We chose lavender as a base crop because it’s gorgeous, it’s got so many medicinal properties and it’s deer resistant. Don designed and built our Gypsy Caravan Chicken Coop, making our first artistic statement as well as creating a luxury coop for "our girls" (the chickens). Every year we design a new addition to the farm, so Mad Lavender Farm is really our giant real life mural that we keep creating and recreating.

Adrienne and Don, owners of Mad Lavender Farm, in front of their "Tiny Shop". Mural on the shop is painted by Adrienne.

We had chickens and now we had the land to raise goats, so we found a breeder and raised our first two baby goats. We were also connected to the yoga community and one of our yoga teachers sent us a video of goat yoga. We just fell in love with the idea and so we started goat yoga in 2015. Goat Yoga was not part of our original business plan, so it happened in a really intuitive, playful kind of way. 

Adrienne and Don have a relationship with their goat breeder (Freedom Star Farm in Hampton NJ). They raise a select group of bottle fed baby goats that the farm receives in late April. The baby goats love social interaction, so goat yoga is a great experience for all participants. The farm uses exclusively baby goats, no adult goats are brought into the goat yoga paddock.

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From the very beginning we envisioned Mad Lavender Farm as an expression of our love of art and nature and to create a place for community. We were also clear that we wanted to maintain a sense of intimacy within our community. We are always imagining ways to make our farm better, not bigger. This year in particular, we are seeing the value of what we have to offer by keeping our workshops and events small and giving all our guests special attention and a really wonderful, unique and peaceful experience. We all need that more than ever.

Please visit Mad Lavender Farm's website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected and receive information on their latest events and workshops, including goat yoga!

Pre COVID-19 goat yoga photos are provided by Ava the instructor. Other photos in this article are taken by Karen (the author) either during her photo sessions at Mad Lavender Farm or during her on-site Sound Bath and Goat Yoga Therapy workshop participation. Photos and video taken at the workshop are with permission from the instructor and all the participants to share.