Animals Life Video

By Hollie Bone

Move aside goat yoga! A farm has launched ‘piggy pilates’ classes where adorable piglets help you perfect your downward facing HOG.

The latest trend in the world of exercising alongside animals was launched at the picturesque Pennywell Farm in Buckfastleigh, Devon, this year to celebrate its 30th anniversary – and fitness buffs from across the UK have raced to try it.

During the 50 minute workout sessions, miniature teacup puglets run free – nibbling at participants’ toes and playing around while gym bunnies plank.

Photo by Theo Moye/Mercury Press

Set in the countryside with open views of the River Dart Valley, staff at the award-winning farm believe the sessions help people to rediscover their connection with nature while offering a welcome distraction from the exercise burn.

Valerie Bickford-Beers, from Pennywell, said: “We’ve only done two sessions but we’ve had people come from all over the UK to try it, on our first session someone started crying with joy and another woman told us it was better than her wedding day.

“We launched it in May after we tried goat yoga last year. We thought the goat yoga had potential but goats aren’t very interactive and they weren’t really that interested in the people.

Photo by Dougie Worthington/Mercury Press

“Pigs are much more sociable and the reaction from both our piglets and our visitors has been fantastic.

“The piglets are really curious, they love the people, they’re not forced to interact in anyway they just run around, play and have a little nibble of people’s toes.”

The monthly classes, run by independent instructor Harriet Parkes, are followed by 10 minutes of cuddling with the piglets and a farm food breakfast fit for a king in the Pennywell cafe.

Harriet said: “Pigs at Pennywell’s pilates sessions offer an incredible element of fun and enjoyment, they run around like lunatics or lie next to you as you get into a downward dog waiting for a belly cuddle.

Photo by Theo Moye/Mercury Press

“The great thing about combining animals and exercise is that it encourages a lot of people to come who might not ordinarily want to exercise.

“I’ve had a lot of ladies and gents come along saying they have never done pilates before.

“People love the pigs and the pilates together, they’ve never been so close to pigs before and it adds something totally new for them.”