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Goat for the Soul

It's a Thing

Article by Rhonda Stephens

Photography by Annette Senio

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

Of all the fads in fitness, goat yoga has got to be the cutest and best at de-stressing ever! Every weekend, Goat for the Soul offers yoga at the Yingling Farm in Unionbridge. And four to five times a month, the Yingling family loads up their lovable mommas and babies—goats, that is—and heads out to a location near you to lay some goat love on folks practicing yoga. Downward dog pose is no obstacle for these agile ruminants, and as the yogis breathe and stretch, they may find a curious face nudging their own—or four tiny hooves balanced upon their backs.

It's hard to keep concentrating, but they try. Some give in to the cuddles sought by the momma or to sheer delight as the tiny baby leaps and races across them and around the class. The Yingling family—Christy, Paul, Clay and Grace—raises goats on a small farm in Unionbridge. They also raise horses, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs. 

"We had all the goats, we had the land, we had the inclination, so we started doing it!" Christy says. "It's a wonderful source of income for the farm."

Partnering with local businesses has brought attention to the farm and the fun of the experience.

"We partner with local businesses. Each weekend, we'll do an event at a local winery or brewery," Christy says.

They bring the gang to Links Bridge Vineyard, Linganore Winecellars, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, Dragon Distillery, Milkhouse Brewery, Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery.

"We have a lot of fun!"

But it's also a lot of work. The magnitude of the move is exhausting. The night before an event, Christy says they haul all the fencing and set up the yoga area. Then, the following morning, Christy arrives early at the location to begin check-in registration and gather the releases. While that is happening, Paul, Clay and Grace are catching the goats and loading them into their vehicles.

"We usually end up taking three vehicles! There are goats everywhere. Some are in the car, others are in the back of the truck with vented windows, but the babies need a little more care, so they ride in the kennels with air conditioning."

At Linganore Winery, the yogis wait in line for registration. They have arrived early, and there's a sense of anticipation. Christy is busy but is interrupted by the call of a participant.

"They're here! The goats are here!"

It's as if a rock star had arrived, and the crowd is wild with excitement. The group rushes over, and Paul and the kids can barely get the goats into the pen before hands are reaching out to touch and pet the little sweethearts. Yes, it's definitely goat love.

"It's a lot of work, but the enjoyment we bring to our class participants is well worth it," Christy says.

So goat on, and unwind with Goat for the Soul. You might just get hooked!