Pigs in Yoga Class Put People at Ease

28 May 2024

In the northeastern American state of Massachusetts, people are combining a form of exercise for the body and spirit with pigs.

The yoga classes in Massachusetts are selling out within hours. People come from far away to exercise with Wilbur, Charlotte and Bluey, who are piglets, or young pigs.

The pigs come from a nearby farm to play among people in the yoga class at Ashley Bousquet's business Beyond Yoga & Wellness in the town of Spencer. Bousquet tells people not to worry if piglets climb on top of them or want to cuddle.

Piglets interact with yoga class participants, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Spencer, Mass. (AP Photo)
Piglets interact with yoga class participants, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Spencer, Mass. (AP Photo)

Goat yoga

Yoga classes with animals are not new. Goats might have been the first. Lainey Morse started yoga classes with goats in the state of Oregon in 2016. She found she felt happier and more at ease around goats. She talked with a friend who was a yoga teacher. They decided to offer classes with the goats. Their business was successful, and the idea soon spread to other places.

In Ashley Bousquet's class, the little pigs walk around humans who are moving into exercise positions called downward dog, crow and cobra. Among the other animals in the outdoor class are two rabbits and a goat named Munchie.

Stacey Delbridge and her daughter drove almost two hours to attend a class with the pigs. She said it was worth the drive.

"The best thing about the piglet yoga was, of course, the piglets and how cute they are," Delbridge said with a smile. "They were funny, you know. Just when you were getting to a point where you needed a break, you had a great visitor come see you, and you could quit without looking like a quitter. Yeah. They're adorable."

Bousquet said there is such demand that online registrations are usually full within hours.

The classes begin with Bousquet inviting her students not to worry about stopping their exercises to spend time with the piglets.

"During the class you have piglets causing mischief and running on you, on top of you or cuddling with you," Bousquet said. "It's super cute."

Amy Finkel brought her two daughters with her, smiling while taking photos of piglets as the girls held a rabbit.

"The highlight of the class, in my opinion, was just having them run around, and seeing them so joyful and happy," she said.

The only problem was that the time passed too quickly.

Good results for humans and animals

Doing yoga with animals produces good results.

Rebecca Purchase is a Volunteer Coordinator of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell. If animal yoga includes shelter, or unwanted, animals, it may even encourage people to give them a home, she said.

"Is yoga stressful to animals that join? It can be if it's not the right animal," Purchase said. "For animals that really thrive, being around people, and getting to socialize with them, it absolutely can be a benefit."

Finkel enjoys animal yoga — she said it helped keep her mind from moving on to other things.

"I just wanted to sit with them," Delbridge said.

I'm Jill Robbins.

Rodrique Ngowi reported on this story for the Associated Press. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English.


Words in This Story

yogan. a system of exercises for mental and physical health

cuddlev. to lie or sit close together

cute –adj. having a pleasing appearance

adorableadj. very appealing or attractive

mischief –n. trouble that is not serious

encourage –v. to urge or persuade a person to do something

stressfuladj. full of or causing stress; making you feel worried or anxious

thrivev. to grow or develop successfully

benefitn. a good result