Nature’s Trail combines traditional yoga training with goat fun
By Kelly White
Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines strength and wellness with relaxation. Putting a spin on the traditional form of exercise is a studio set in the heart of the Orland Park community that ties together yoga, nature, and goats.
Through the practice of goat yoga, Nature’s Trail Yoga, located on a five-acre family-owned farm at 14655 S. 82nd Avenue, allows people to connect with nature and affectionate goats while enjoying the many health benefits of yoga and goat fun.
Goat yoga is fitness trend that has been sweeping the nation since 2016, where a traditional yoga class is combined with live goats.
“There is something very heartwarming about having the goats roam around during class, petting them, connecting with them, and having them fall asleep next to you or on you,” Michele McGovern Apps, owner of Nature’s Trail Yoga, said. “I don’t recommend ditching your traditional yoga classes, but if you love animals, goat yoga is a nice addition your traditional yoga practice every now and then.”
As the sole owner, McGovern Apps, of Orland Park, opened the doors of Nature’s Trail Yoga to the public in July of last year.
“My daughter is in the Army and was deployed to Iraq for most of 2019,” McGovern Apps said. “She called me one day and told me about her friend’s mom that does goat yoga. She said, ‘Mom, we should do goat yoga, our property would be perfect for it, and it would be so much fun’. I said, ‘That sounds like a great idea’.”
With 10 goats on staff that came from Grasse Acres, a breeder in Door County, Wis., and from Crosswind Farms in Manhattan, Ill., Nature’s Trail Yoga’s classes consist of a 60-minute all level yoga class with the goats roaming around freely. Yoga mats, blankets, and any yoga props needed for the class are provided on-site.
After the yoga session, participants are able to take part in a half hour of what McGovern Apps calls, Goat Fun, which includes nature walks, bottle feeding the goats, and photographs with the goats, ranging from photos with goats standing on the backs of people to goat selfies.
“What I enjoy most about my job at Nature’s Trail Yoga is seeing people laugh and smile,” McGovern Apps said.
McGovern Apps was awarded a full scholarship for her bachelor and master’s degrees in music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago and is also a professional flutist. She prides herself in composing music and film music videos mostly revolving around nature and animals.
“I’ve always been into fitness and was a fitness instructor during my college days, but there is something very special about yoga,” McGovern Apps said. “Not just how wonderful it makes you feel physically but how it changes your mental attitude and outlook on life for the positive. What not better then to pass on all the benefits of yoga to as many people as possible and help them live a happier and healthy life?”
McGovern Apps became a certified yoga instructor in June of 2009 and is currently continuing her yoga studies with world renowned yoga instructor, Amy Ippoliti, at 90 Monkeys in Boulder, Colo. She will also have her y4c (Yoga 4 Cancer) certification at the end of April. Then she will be able and is looking forward to designing classes specifically for cancer survivors going through treatment and post-treatment.
Aside from Nature’s Trail Yoga’s goat yoga classes, McGovern Apps also hosts goat yoga private events, corporate, team building, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, girls’ night out, and bridal showers.
More information about classes and online booking can be found at https://www.naturestrailyoga.com/all-events