There’s an eight-acre farm about 25 minutes east of Cleveland where it’s pretty difficult for visitors to leave without having loved on an animal or laughed at their antics.
“They’re just floating out the door after,” said yoga instructor Angela DeMichele. “You can’t leave without smiling.”
Alissa Miller is the owner of Feels Like Home Farm, where for the past two years she’s offered yoga and cuddle sessions with all kinds of adorable barnyard animals.
One of her newest offerings is ‘Yoga with Piglets.’ Wednesday, Kunekune piglets River, Bubbles and Rocky were preparing for a class this weekend and another coming up in August.
Kunekune pigs are a very social breed of pig from New Zealand, said Miller. That’s why they’re perfect for yoga. The piglets actually live next door at Heifer Meister Farms.
Miller also has a tiny goat named Tootsie, who involves herself in just about everything that goes on at the farm. She’s also a big hit on social media.
“She thinks she’s a human,” said Miller.
With the hour-long yoga classes, participants can get their minds centered, work on different postures, practice mindfulness and breathing — but they can do it among the animals with plenty of breaks for cuddles and selfies .
“And someone like Tootsie gets really engaged and interactive, so you get the benefit of yoga and the therapeutic benefits,” said DeMichele, who also owns SnapFitness in Madison.
For those who aren’t interested in yoga, said Miller, there are ‘barnyard play date’ events, where visitors can interact and visit with the animals and get a tour of the farm, which also includes alpacas and miniature cows.
Miller said she also just purchased a miniature Highland Dexter cow she describes as a “fuzzy teddy bear cow.” So starting next month, she’ll be offering cow cuddling classes.
Miller said she got involved in animal yoga about two years ago, after it first started getting popular, and everything has just grown from there.
“And being a small farmer, I feel any light I can shed on the farming community is a positive thing because farmers are really the backbone of our country,” she said. “And I’ve heard so many people come in from the city, and maybe they’ve never even seen a goat. So it’s helping people connect.