Yoga has been the popular go-to for mindfulness and exercise for years, but has recently taken a turn for the unconventional. For Karen Buxcel, owner of Sōl Yoga Collective, this change was the next logical step in her practice; a practice she says, that came at a point of rediscovery.
“I’d been a stay-at-home mother for many years and absolutely poured myself into that role of being a loving, engaged mama to my children. When I turned 40, I suddenly began to realize that I had lost touch with who I was, beyond ‘mom’,” said Buxcel.
After having a less than impactful yoga experience 20 years ago, Buxcel decided to start simple with the Sun Salutation A series, and 30 days later, she was hooked. Shortly after that, she became certified to teach and began offering donation based classes in a church building that was home to an intentional community.
“I told my friend living there that I would donate the classes for the community if she would donate the space… I asked a couple other people to get certified and invited them to begin teaching at that location as well,” Buxcel explained.
“My favorite thing about teaching at sŌl is absolutely the people. Our students, our instructors – they bring so much heart to our space.”
Fast forward a few years. With a solid name and a new studio, Buxcel was faced with the task of finding ways to keep yoga intriguing and inclusive. Operating since 2015, this Rapid City-based yoga studio is doing more than teaching downward-facing dog.
“My vision and mission when creating this collective was to bring yoga to the people. I realized that yoga has a certain image – that if you are the right age, size, shape, and social class, then you and yoga go together. I’m looking to shatter that bias,” claimed Buxcel.
“every interaction we have, every new student we meet, every returning student that we welcome back – we begin from a place of true appreciation, respect, and gratitude.”
Sōl runs on a donation-based business model, meaning they ask people to contribute what they can, whether that means money, time, or in this case, goats. After hearing about goat yoga, Buxcel contacted Thane Rose, owner of Old McDonald’s Farm, who was willing to donate eight goats for her yoga needs.
“By acknowledging that they have value to share and something to contribute to the community, it puts them in a powerful and meaningful receiving position,” Buxcel continued.
Not only do these yogis make yoga available for everyone, but they mix things up by offering classes like heated yoga, kids yoga, and the incredibly popular goat yoga. This is yoga that is practiced in the presence of happy and friendly goats, giving a whole new meaning to connecting with your inner kid.
“We were able to work out the details. I recruited a few adventurous instructors and we put it on the schedule. our first couple classes sold out within hours, which was fun to see happen,” said Buxcel.
The goats have become accustomed to these classes, and are said to “come running to their kennels” when it’s time for class. Once they arrive at the studio, Thane cleans their hooves off, lets them do their business, and leads them into the studio where they are greeted by a very eager and welcoming group.
“This is a time to be playful and silly and experience nothing but joy and laughter for an hour. Combining goats along with guided movement has been a really beautiful experience,” beamed Buxcel.
Whether you are a veteran in the yoga community or you are looking for a way to spend more time with goats, Sōl Yoga Collective has what you are looking for—and just in time for the new year and your new year’s resolutions.
“What I’ve learned is that by putting myself first, the benefits ripple out to the people I love most in my life.”
For more information, visit solyogacollective.com.
SOME AVAILABLE CLASSES
- Ashtanga Inspired
- Blindfolded Yoga
611 1/2 Main Street