A small, bare-footed crowd of mostly children watched in anticipation as Nicole Hiller, of Morris, opened the gate of the animal enclosure. Black and white 1-month-old piglets squealed and sprinted into the backyard. Yoga class could now begin.
Downward Hog Yoga was hosted at Hiller’s home on Pine Bluff Road on Saturday. Fifteen people, 13 chickens, five piglets and a pig were in attendance.
Yoga instructor Danielle Todd said the animals’ presence helps keep the atmosphere light-hearted and silly, something she says relaxes those new to yoga.
“We have no expectations; we just roll with it,” Todd said, “The beauty of yoga is that it meets you where you are.”
As Hiller supervised and took photos, Todd began her class.
“Take a moment to be present in your body. Feel the ground under your feet, the sounds, the smells, the breeze,” Todd said.
As the students went about their stretches, the piglets and chickens would dart between the matts, occasionally investigating the unguarded shoe or iPhone. However, any sudden movement sent them scampering behind a nearby tree. Daisy May, the mother pig, was unfazed by pretty much anything.
Hiller said she got the idea for Downward Hog Yoga when she saw a similar event on Facebook.
“I had Daisy May and the piglets and just thought, ‘Why not?’ ” Hiller said.
After an hour of yoga, the class ended and the kids turned their attention fully to the piglets. After 10 minutes, Alice Soriano, 10, of Elgin, was the first to catch one.
“He was running away from someone else and ran right into the corner where I was,” Soriano said. “I think he’s really cute.”
This was the first event hosted by Hiller, and she said it won’t be the last.
“I think it went very well. At first I was stressing about it, but in the end it was all light and fun. I think we might make it a yearly event,” Hiller said.
Todd also said the event was a success.
“It was great,” Todd said. “Ninety percent of our mind is caught up on the past or future, so it’s so great to take a moment to enjoy the present with these animals and find gratitude.”
The piglets of Downward Hog Yoga are for sale. For more information on the piglets or future events, contact Hiller at 630-640-4025.