As I went through yoga flow, I was completely relaxed. I focused on my breathwork with my eyes closed. For a second, I almost forgot that I was surrounded by pigs. Yes, you read that correctly—pigs, as in the animals, as in Charlotte's Web.
I must admit, I’m not the biggest fitness fanatic in the world. I usually have to drag myself to the gym, and leave after doing far too few sets. But last Saturday, I bounced out of bed and hurried over to Tuck Barre & Yoga on 34th and Lancaster for their latest "yoga with pigs" class. After the success of their first pig yoga class back in July, the studio planned two more for September—a vinyasa flow class and a yin yoga class that both sold out within an hour.
Walking into the class and setting up my mat, it was hard not to get distracted by the adorable animals. Pretty much every spot in the room was filled, either by a yogi or by six pigs and a bit randomly, a miniature goat named Squeaks.
The class was short, mostly because it’s very hard to focus on your yoga positions when there are pigs walking around you. We took part in about 10 minutes of light vinyasa flow, and then had plenty of time to play, take pictures, and give snacks to the pigs.
We were each given a handful of Cheerios, which the pigs enthusiastically ate out of our hands. The fan favorite was a tiny piglet who made its way through the arms of pretty much everyone in the class. I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly the animals were.
The pig yoga classes are part of a partnership with FairyTail Acres Rescue, which saves pigs from unfair conditions, including abuse and abandonment, and gives them the opportunity for a better life. While the pigs have a forever home at FairyTail Acres, they are also open to adoption to the perfect family.
The team at FairyTail Acres emphasized that one of their main goals is to change people’s perceptions of pigs as dirty farm animals and instead see them as sensitive and intelligent creatures.
In addition to yoga studios, the pigs also visit nursing homes, hospitals, and schools as part of their pig therapy program. FairyTail Acres usually doesn't charge for their events, but to attend the pig yoga class, a $25 donation was required.
The studio also has regular classes, but the owner Callie, a Penn Law grad, is dedicated to holding fundraisers whenever she can. If you missed pig yoga this time, don't despair! There are a couple more opportunities to work out with adorable animals in the upcoming month. On October 4th, Tuck & Barre is holding a dog yoga class as part of a partnership with Hand2Paw, a local non–profit giving jobs at local animal shelters to disadvantaged kids.
The next yoga with pigs class will be happening on October 13th, so make sure to sign up before it sells out!