Where we’re at: I’m recapping the fall of 2018, including my Wander Women Retreat in Martha’s Vineyard. Bookings are currently open for Dominican Republic and Thailand. Find out more about our latest retreats here!
I’m one of those girls. I’ve done goat yoga. I’ve done dog yoga. I’ve done aerial yoga, yoga on a paddle board, yoga with sangria in hand… if there’s a new way to get bendy and breathe, basically, consider me all over it.
So the moment that I saw Martha’s Vineyard’s own Island Alpaca launched a series of alpaca yoga classes last summer? I freaked out.
(Kinda like Tiffany and Jill did, when they later met said alpacas.)
On my Wander Women Retreat itineraries, I always write that everything is “subject to change — and expect surprises!” And this is exactly why. The existence of alpaca yoga came to my attention less than a week before Wander Women Martha’s Vineyard kicked off. Obviously, I knew I needed to have it as part of my retreat, come hell or high plank.
Due to basically having to replan the entire retreat schedule to accommodate it as well as a few other logistical challenges, I wasn’t able to confirm our attendance at alpaca yoga until literally the day before the retreat started (let’s just say those programs were hot off the press when the girls arrived.)
So needless to say, it was a surprise upon their arrival — one that I was actually giddy to be able to give them.
(And, um, myself.)
I was shocked when I heard that the typical public summer alpaca yoga classes they’d been running could have up to seventy people in them! I was pretty pleased with our much more intimate private class in one of the smaller paddocks.
After letting the alpacas into the paddock to meet us and greet us and get used to us a bit, our instructor began our one hour vinyasa class. Like all yoga classes that involve animals (of which I’ve been to several — I’ve done goat yoga alone three times!) there is a big emphasis on play, on interaction with the environment, and on trying to keep your balance in simple postures while “assisted” by furry friends who might stop by to say hi.
Our hosts at Island Alpaca had strewn hay around our mats which kept the alpacas entertained in between curiously checking us out. Unlike in goat yoga, they weren’t hopping on our backs (um, have you seen the size of them? Thank God for that!), but they certainly did get cozy with us from time to time.
It was also fascinating to me that they seemed to really favor certain yogis — Shelby in particular was a major favorite and her mat always seemed surrounded!
We definitely paused for plenty of selfies mid-class, but were also super lucky to have Ian as our enthusiastic photographer for the duration, so we could focus on not bursting into giggles when we accidentally made alpaca eye contact.
After class, everyone was feeling pretty giddy and grateful — it was the perfect note to end the weekend on. And what better note to end the class on than to nab a few more alpaca portraits, and give a few more happy hugs!
After our class, we had a yummy snack of fresh fruit and wandered the farm to meet the tiniest baby alpacas (who weren’t quite ready to be yogis just yet) and went crazy on wool goods in the gift shop.
It had been more than a little stressful pulling off this last minute magic, but seeing the girls have such an amazing time — and hearing it show up on all of their lists of highlights later — made it worth all the trouble. And yes, if you come on a Wander Women Retreat, you better come ready to do all kinds of structured reflection at the end of it! 😉
Looking for a more traditional class on the island? Check out my post on where to practice on Martha’s Vineyard! Want to meet the alpacas without rolling out a mat? You can do that too — it’s one of the most budget friendly entertainment options on the island.
I have to say, though, alpaca yoga was a blast. They are just the most inquisitive, playful, quirky little creatures, and this was such a great way to interact with them and get to know their funny little personalities better.
I can’t wait to see what my next big retreat surprise will be — or what my next crazy yoga class will entail!
Would you try alpaca yoga?
If you’d like to see Martha’s Vineyard through my eyes, my family’s historic Oak Bluffs gingerbread cottage is available for weekly rentals. We renovated each room by hand and I’d love to share its magic with you!