Alpaca Your Mat! North Dartmouth Farm Hosting Yoga With Alpacas
You've heard of goat yoga, but have you heard of yoga with alpacas?
A farm in North Dartmouth is continuing its three-year tradition of hosting yoga sessions with its crew of alpacas, and you don't have to be an expert yogi to have a bunch of fun.
When owners Shirley and Roger Lanouette established Hill Crest Alpaca Farm in 2006, they had just four female alpacas. Over the years, the farm has grown into a full-on family affair, now home to 25 alpacas. Shirley's son and daughter-in-law, Dave and Kelly Michalski, have also begun incorporating the farm into their lives more and more, and Dave said from selling alpaca poop and selling goodies in their on-site store to hosting meet-and-greets and even alpaca yoga, every little bit helps in keeping the farm going year in and year out.
"We have close to $5 thousand in hay just for the winter months," Michalski said. "All of these little events that we do support the farm."
Hill Crest started hosting yoga sessions with its 15 female alpacas back in 2019, and the growing interest was incredible. Michalski said the first session they hosted had about 12 participants, but by the end of the season, sessions had around 50 people spread out across the farm's field. They were able to continue tradition last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, incorporating masks and socially distanced mats, and in the summer months ahead, sessions will go on as planned at Hill Crest.
Michalski said his whole family gets involved for the farm's yoga classes, which are hosted by Keri Cusson DeFusco of CALM and The Yoga House. Students from Bristol Aggie also participate, helping herd the alpacas into the field for yoga and refill each participant's food cups.
"[The alpacas] know that everyone in the field has a cup of food, so they come right up to you," Michalski said.
One alpaca named Valley has even learned to be strategic about getting her share of food during the yoga sessions, focusing on one person at a time and only moving on to the next when they run out of food.
Yoga sessions are $15 for adults and $5 for children under 13, running every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. through the first week in August at the farm at 338 Old Fall River Road in North Dartmouth. Call Dave Michalski at 508-294-6475 to RSVP and bring a mat along for an hour full of fun.
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