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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Fans of the viral YouTube sensation Buttermilk Sky — a young Nigerian dwarf goat that frolics in the grass and leapfrogs over other goat kids — get excited.

Flow Space, a yoga studio downtown, will be hosting its first baby goat yoga session from 2 to 3 p.m. March 17.

In the studio’s grassy backyard, with people practicing downward dog with Flow Space co-owner and instructor Maggie Rucker, 10 to 12 baby goats from Whiteacre’s Dairy Goats will be practicing their parkour on and around all the yogis attending.

Catherine Whiteacre, owner of Whiteacre’s and family friend of the Ruckers, said she will transport a mix of 12 Nigerian dwarfs and young Nubian goats in big dog crates by pickup truck for the event.

She believes this is the first time Gainesville has seen an event like this. But with it being the first time, she said managing the goats will be interesting.

“If anybody is not behaving, I’m just going to put them in time out,” she said.

Whiteacre said she is trimming all of their hooves and brushing them out before the event.

“So they’re nice and clean for the ladies,” she said.

Among the goats bounding around the event, Whiteacre said she is most excited for the yogis to meet Pomoji, a five-month-old, solid brown Nigerian dwarf; the four whethers, Salt, Pepper, Olive and Pumpkin; and two Nubians, Tapioca and Chimichurri.

Nigerian dwarf goats remain miniature their whole lives but still grow to the size of a small dog, while Nubian goats can grow up to around 200 pounds, she said.

For this reason, Whiteacre said it might be difficult to keep around enough baby goats to do yoga events year round.

Although Whiteacre does not practice yoga herself, she said she finds her own kind of meditation in the early and long hours of tending to her goats on the farm.

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“You won’t find me taking a yoga class and likewise, I’m kind of thinking that these ladies in the class aren’t going to be there picking up afterwards and helping deliver kids,” she said.

Whiteacre believes, in a sense, it is the best of the yoga and the goat world joining together, bringing a little piece of farm life to the yoga mat.

“The (goats) are always upbeat. They’re always happy,” she said. “The fact that these yoga women are going to be sharing in that much is wonderful.”

Rucker, a co-owner of Flow Space and yoga instructor for the event, said she is excited as well.

She assumes the event will be very similar to the kitten yoga that Flow Space hosted in the past.

“Very distracting, but very fun, you know,” she said. “For me as an instructor, very distracting because I’m there watching all of the mayhem and laughing so hard.”

She said she can’t wait to watch yogis try and hold child’s pose or downward dog with baby goats jumping all around them.

“It’s just healthy, you know,” she said, “to just laugh and enjoy nature.”

Rucker said her daily motivation is to provide an environment for wellness in the community she is so in love with.

The 24-year-old Gainesville native said her dream was born two years ago.

While working as an instructor at My Yoga Connection, the building that is now her yoga studio, Flow Space, the business closed down.

Seeing firsthand a loyal yogi community lose the beautiful studio where they loved to meditate, Rucker jumped into action to save the space.

“I needed help, I needed somebody to help me, you know, with this dream,” she said.

Enter Hannah Hill, or “Humm”, a 21-year-old Gainesville native and daughter of the man who owned the property.

After meeting, Humm and Rucker quickly became business partners and co-owners of Flow Space, opening the doors to the public June 6, 2016.

The space has heart pine floor, brick walls and high arched ceilings, perfect for facilitating meditation and balance, according to the website.

“The space provides an umbrella for so much more than just yoga,” Rucker said.

Originally a railroad station identical to the sister building next door, she said the building holds so much history of what came before it.

“It just creates this background of beauty and good vibes,” she said. “There have been so many wonderful events that have happened inside of that building even before it was Flow Space.”

With upcoming events like goat yoga Saturday, to all of the events in the years to come, Rucker said the mission of Flow Space has evolved and will continue evolving forever.

“We’re trying to be, you know, original,” she said, “and be whatever we are and trying to continually tune to our own truths.”

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