NOBLESVILLE — You’ve probably heard of the goat yoga trend. Essentially entry-level yoga class… but surrounded by goats.
Sounds fun right?
That’s exactly what one Noblesville family thought, until they were told otherwise by the Hamilton County Planning Commission which said the property in question, wasn’t fit for the classes.
The goats of Happy Goat Lucky Yoga along Cornell Road in Noblesville won’t be doing any ‘downward dogs’ anytime soon.
“I’m sad that something I put my own time and money and energy in was just taken away so quickly. For something that I don’t feel is that big of an issue,” Happy Goat Lucky Yoga Owner Jordan Stevens said. “My eyes are probably all puffy because I cried all night.”
Wednesday, the Hamilton County board of zoning appeals voted in a 4-1 decision to reject her businesses variance application to allow the operation of goat-infused yoga classes to continue on her acreage.
“People love coming here and actually the reaction we’ve gotten is that a lot of people are very sad that we won’t be able to have goat yoga classes anymore,” Stevens said. “I just want to share them with the world because they are our family.”
Stevens was sharing and stretching them, for a time this summer with over 2,000 guests participating all told.
“So basically, people would come out and enjoy an hour of a goat yoga class and that’s basically yoga class where goats climb on people and it just makes people laugh and have a good time and kinda forget about their worries for an hour,” Stevens said. “I do believe this is an asset to the community and especially during COVID and in the time we’re in now, we all are facing a little sadness still dealing with everything that’s happened the past year, so I mean, I feel we absolutely need things that make people smile.”
What she didn’t know, earlier this summer, was her land turned yoga studio wasn’t fit for the business she operated.
“We are A2 which is agricultural, so we’re allowed to have the goats, just not a business on the property,” Stevens said. “We apparently needed a variance for that, and I wasn’t aware until we were notified.”
They were notified by the county board of zoning appeals in August and their decision on Wednesday was that Happy Goat Lucky Yoga would be no more.
“We don’t harbor any ill will toward anybody that didn’t, doesn’t want us to do this… we don’t understand why, but yeah,” Happy Goat Lucky Yoga Advisor Christine Stiles said. “Ultimately it was Hamilton County’s decision and it’s a no-win. It’s a no-win situation.”
Stiles is also Steven’s mother. She’s heartbroken to see her daughter’s dreams dashed.
“It’s awful… I mean to see something that your daughter has put her heart and soul into for the past few years and all she wants to do is share that passion that she has for therapy,” Stiles said. “It breaks my heart, and several other people’s hearts that so far we’ve heard from.”
Stevens graduated from IU with a degree in psychology. suffering from depression herself, she says the goats help everyone – not just her.
“It just fills my heart to know how many people have left smiling and happy and have told us, you really made my day. Or This is something I’ll never forget… I’m gonna remember this forever so that’s what really makes me sad to know that like I can’t give this to other people,” Stevens said. “I do struggle with depression so I… they saved my life and that was the main reason I wanted to start goat yoga because it had been popping up across the country and people were loving it.”
That love has prompted them to consider another option in the near future.
“One option is just to have free classes and if people want to donate that’s fine. Because we want the community to have this opportunity,” Stevens said. “I’m just sad that something I put my own time and money and energy in was just taken away so quickly… for something that I don’t feel is that big of an issue to begin with.”
As of Thursday, Happy Goat Lucky Yoga is no more, but the group will reevaluate their standing next spring – as their business only ran during warmer months of the year anyway.