Baaaaa! Nashville goat yoga business sees growth, seeks out smiles

Photo provided by Shenanigoats

Eleanor Tolbert

Weekends in Bowling Green are always fun, but there are only so many times you can go to Spencer’s Coffee or Cook Out before getting bored. WKU students are familiar with going to Nashville for weekend getaways. Next time you go, put goat yoga on your to-do list. 

Shenanigoats is the business to satisfy all your goat needs. Owned by Max Knudsen and Jamie Codispoti, Shenanigoats started as a landscaping business. Goats eat 70% of their body weight per day in grass, Knudsen said. Having bought a sheep and goat farm in 2016, they decided to put the goats to work.

After a while, Knudsen said people started asking about goat yoga, as the trend was popping up all over the nation. They decided to give it a try and began offering goat yoga sessions in the summer of 2017.

“At first, these sessions would take place in people’s backyards,” Knudsen said. “After the weather had gotten in the way a few times, we decided to find a studio.”

The Shenanigoats yoga studio is in an old auto body shop located at 1046 Westchester Drive in Madison, Tennessee. Despite being slightly north of Nashville, it still receives city traffic. Knudsen said goat yoga doesn’t need a big city to be popular, but the Nashville community has been very supportive of the business and allowed it to be successful.

An average class size is around 25-40 people, Knudsen said. The clientele tends to be women, especially with bachelorette parties. Business tends to pick up around Thanksgiving and Christmas, because the holidays apparently make people want goat cuddle sessions.

“All it takes to book a class is five people,” Knudsen said. “We automatically have classes on the weekends, but if people are interested, all they have to do is call and book a time that works for them.”

All the goats are under a year old, because young goats are more active and open to interacting with people. Knudsen said they would never have a goat at yoga if it didn’t want to be there. Most of them like to snuggle with people, and if a person decides to just sit on the mat and play with the goat instead of doing yoga, that’s OK.

“We try to have one goat for every three people,” Knudsen said. “That way there is enough goats to go around.”

Goats are animals, meaning when they have to go, they have to go. Knudsen said if a goat has an accident on you, you receive a free T-shirt. Most people don’t mind, though. In fact, it is somewhat considered a badge of honor.

Bettina Bowers is a regular at Shenanigoats. She said she has lost count of the amount of times she’s been but guesses it’s somewhere around 25-30 visits.

“You can come for the yoga, and the goats are a bonus, or you can come for the goats, and the yoga is a bonus,” Bowers said. “It really just depends on the person.”

Although she does yoga a few times a week, Bowers said you do not have to know yoga to go to Shenanigoats. The poses are not too difficult, and the instructors tend to lean toward poses which encourage the goats to jump up on you.

Bowers said the experience can make anyone smile. A few months after it opened, she brought her friend whose husband had recently passed away. Playing with the goats was the first time Bowers had seen her genuinely laugh since then.

“People tend to let go and just enjoy being there with them,” Bowers said.

Knudsen said they recently realized how much the business was growing when they bought a map of the U.S. for customers to pin and mark from where they traveled. Quickly, they said they needed a bigger map, and it needed to be of the world, not just the U.S.

“It is exciting to see people from all over the world,” Knudsen said. “I was getting emails from people in Japan asking if they need to bring their own mats or if they could rent one. I told them mat rentals are $3.”

Last year, Shenanigoats began having goat painting classes. People can paint goat-themed pictures as goats run around and play with them. Although it is not as popular as the yoga, it is beginning to grow. 

Knudsen said goats have become their life. They believe they are great animals that can really bring a smile to a person’s face.

Though at first a sudden decision, it seems buying a goat farm was exactly what Knudsen and Nashville needed.

Shenanigoats may be contacted online at its website and followed on Facebook and Instagram at @shenanigoatsyoga.

Features reporter Eleanor Tolbert can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on social media at @ellietolbert.