Yoga trends thrive with goats, wine and beer for ultimate relaxation – StarNewsOnline.com

On a recent Saturday in Brunswick County’s Bolivia community, a group of people gathered at Greenlands Farm to practice yoga — and to spend some time with friendly goats and a miniature cow.
Before instructor Erin Heyrman led the group in a lesson focused on the different animal-inspired yoga poses, like the cat and crab, there was a meet-and-greet session with Elsie, Goldie, Sally, Patsy, Lucille and Gracie.
Elsewhere in the Wilmington area, you can also combine yoga with beer *and* goats (in the case of events held at Flytrap Brewing downtown and Makai Brewing Company in Ocean Isle Beach). And Unwined on the Square, a new business in Leland, is part wine bar, part yoga studio. 
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With more than 28 million Americans now practicing yoga, it’s considered one of the most popular fitness and mental health practices in the country, according to a recent report from Zippia Research. Because yoga has such minimal requirements for its practice, it lends itself to many interpretations. And fans urge people to consider them as more than fleeting trends.
Maud Kelley, of Greenlands Farm, wanted to offer yoga on the family’s homestead as a way to combine that form of therapy with animal therapy.
“I didn’t want to do it because other people were doing it. This was something I really wanted to do,” she said, adding that it was started when a woman with a goat farm invited her friend, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, to come and practice.
It’s taken off since then. And Kelley said her herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats were brought in especially for yoga. Elsie, the miniature cow (that is also available for cuddle sessions) is another important part of the sessions. Kelley also started a small nonprofit called Hoof, an educational farm animal sanctuary, in coordination with the yoga that usually take place once a month in nice weather. Upcoming sessions are planned on Sept. 3 and Oct 1.
At Unwined, the business concept does have a practical side. When Amy and Brian Burkhardt decided to open their own business in the Wake Forest area, they partnered with their daughter Jana Burkhardt, a certified yoga instructor. The space can be a studio by day and a wine bar by night. 
“It also makes sense because it combines two great forms of relaxation,”  Amy Burkhardt said. 
That’s especially true of their Leland location, newly opened this summer at 2163 Britton Road, near the Harrington Square Apartments.
“There are so many new people moving to the area,” she said. “This provides more than one way to connect with people and get to know them.”
It’s more than a meme about drinking wine in yoga pants, she said. 
Their Leland space has a yoga studio, a wine lounge and an outdoor patio. On one side, you can find wines by the glass, as well as local beer and kombucha and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It also functions as a bottle shop and a community gathering spot for their wine club, trivia nights, and events like the popular Sip and Shop.
All parts of the business can be enjoyed on their own, but also lend themselves to crossover. One man recently came in for the wine part of Unwined, but then signed up for a 30-day intro package for the yoga, she said.
Not everyone is a fan of these yoga trends, and say that they distract from the serious, spiritual origins of the practice. But others see them as a way to draw more people to yoga and extend the many communities that can benefit. 
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“Some people might be intimidated in other settings,” Burkhardt said. “But here they can just walk in and just sit and enjoy a glass of wine to check it out.”
In the decade or so since Kelley has moved back to Greenlands Farm, many of the agritourism events she’s planned have come and gone. 
“But I’ve tried to keep what I’m passionate about,” she said. “And this is one of them. It’s not just fun, although that’s a part of it. It’s also very beneficial.”
“I feel like everybody should give it a try.”
Allison Ballard is the food and dining reporter at the StarNews. You can reach her at ab******@ga*****.com.

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