If you build it (and add goats and create Instagram-able moments), they will come. In this case, the Field of Dreams is a spacious backyard in Madison — (sometimes) home of Shenanigoats Yoga, which allows participants to experience the amalgamation of two zen-inducing things: goats and yoga. Last Saturday morning, about 40 folks made their way into Warrior I and downward dog while kid goats nibbled honeysuckle at their toes, jumped from one yogi to the next and balanced on backs, hips and feet. While the pair behind Shenanigoats wasn’t the first to dream up the concept, they are the first to bring it to Nashville.
“Our business originally started as a landscaping business,” explains Jamie Codispoti, who owns Shenanigoats with her partner Max Knudsen. After a request via the Next Door app, Jamie and Max began to use goats from their farm to clear brush from homes in the area. “A social media post in the East Nashville Facebook group got over 700 likes and 300 comments (all of which were positive!). Then, people started asking for goat yoga.” As a licensed clinical social worker, Jamie saw the therapeutic benefits of working with animals, and after some research, realized this is something they could do. The goats embarked on their first landscaping job at the end of April, and the first yoga class was June 10. That first class sold out in less than three hours, and three months later they are hosting up to seven classes per week. “It started organically, and the community support has been amazing,” Jamie shares.
Each hour-long class is led by a yoga instructor who takes yogis through a simple flow. Moments of tranquility and peace often associated with yoga can be uncovered during your practice, but for most, the attention is focused on the furry creatures sharing their mat. “The laughter in the class … there is so much laughing!” Jamie says. And she isn’t wrong. You can’t help but laugh as a goat leaps onto your back, and then onto your neighbor. The goats lucky enough to join you in aligning your chakras are the youngest of Jamie and Max’s herd. Once they get too big for yoga, they will graduate to landscaping. “To us they are pets, not farm animals,” Jamie tells us. “They all have a name, and they all have a story. The most friendly goats are the ones we have raised with a bottle.” The most well-known name in the herd: Miles. His forte for cuddling and balancing on feet has earned him his very own Instagram account.
Yoga instructors approach Shenanigoats to teach, folks offer their land to host the classes, news channels are spreading the word, Miles is gaining followers by the dozens, and Jamie is shocked by the support. “Max is a manifester and would say that this is working because we are doing good, and good things come to good people. But for me, this is just nuts,” Jamie says of the growth. The goats live on Jamie and Max’s 47-acre farm located about an hour east of Nashville. Jamie is still working her full-time job as a psychiatric social worker at HCA while Max runs the landscaping and the farm (not to mention they are raising two kids). “I have been in the therapeutic world for so long and am so happy that we have found something that adds these benefits. It is social work in a different way. I am so glad that it all comes together and that we have been able to support local people and get support from the many awesome people who have come into our lives since it started.”
Although they have occupied just about every space from a friend’s backyard in Madison to the green space near Bongo East in Five Points, Shenanigoats is opening a permanent studio next week. “This will let us hold classes indoors when it gets too cold or is raining. My awesome friend Stephanie Lord created the amazing space,” Jamie says. “Although this is our permanent location, we are game to be out in Nashville — when we can.” The studio, on the border of Madison and East Nashville, will be located at 1046 West Chester. “Stephanie really knocked it out of the park. The space is peaceful, calm and warm.”
For Jamie and Max, the craziest moment thus far was when Jamie received a call from a publishing company asking them do to a 97-page coffee table book. Ashley Hylbert is set to shoot the photography while Max and Jamie will write an intro, an explanation of goat yoga and the FAQ page. (Find the book here). “It is all amazing and wonderful and insane,” Jamie says. “It has definitely hit a chord with a lot of people, and we are super grateful.” For a business that was born and grown organically, Shenanigoats is knocking it out of the goat pen. “The demand is crazy. I never expected it to take off like it did,” Jamie says, clearly humbled. “Even when I am tired, I show up and remember that life is good, and we are making people happy. That makes it worth doing.”
Sign up. Really, do it. No one ever said they regretted an hour spent with friends, goats and non-stop laughter, right? Check out the available classes on Shenanigoats’ Eventbrite page.
Looking for more to do around town? Download the SB App to discover local events and happenings!