Mesa woman keeps clients fit with paddleboards, goat yoga
September 17, 2018
By Lynette Carrington
Sarah Williams has done it all.
She studied exercise science at ASU and worked in the fitness industry for 20 years. She’s a registered yoga teacher and certified in Pilates. She’s a CrossFit and CrossFit Kids trainer. Williams is a USA weightlifting coach and is an Arthritis Foundation-certified senior fitness specialist.
Now, as the owner of Desert Paddleboards, she has expanded the water fitness craze in the East Valley. The Northeast Mesa resident has taken exercise to the farm as well, with goat yoga.
Fitness has always been a part of her life.
“I started out as a synchronized swimmer and I did that all throughout high school,” explained Williams, who competed on NBC’s America Ninja Warrior in 2013. “I coached through college and I’ve always loved the water.”
She grew up swimming at Mesa city pools and started paddleboard yoga fitness classes there in 2015. Since then she has expanded to Chandler and Gilbert public pools. In addition to scheduled classes, her company rents equipment in Northeast Mesa to those who paddleboard at the local lakes.
She developed classes to be social and fun instead of competitive. Private classes are also available at clients’ sites with advance arrangements.
“There are so many paddleboard companies and I’m not going to compete with them because a lot of them are male run and very competitive,” Williams said.
“We need to get more women paddleboarding. It’s too intimidating to strap boards on the car and go out by themselves. I decided to start these classes to show women they can do it.”
As for goat yoga, she founded Goat Yoga Arizona two years ago with April Gould, who hosts the classes at her Welcome Home Ranch in Gilbert. She sees it as a way to continue teaching when the pools are closed for the summer.
“It’s hilarious,” Williams said. “When we started out, we didn’t think it would be a tourism thing, but half of every class is tourists.”
The fitness trend has been getting a lot of attention. Recently, Goat Yoga Arizona was featured on TV shows Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour with rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his son Jack Osbourne, and The Amazing Race. The goats climb on and go under yoga class participants.
“It’s totally legit,” Williams explained.
About 30 goats take part in classes.
“We just keep making in weirder. We’ve added two alpacas and once a month we have cow cuddling where we bring in a dairy cow.”
The more animals Williams and Gould add to the mix, the more excited people get. During Shark Week, goats were dressed up in shark costumes to put an extra bite of fun into the classes.
“All our classes have themes. Every class has 120 people and those usually sell out two weeks in advance,” Williams added. “We do about eight Goat Yoga classes a month.”
“It’s been almost two years and we definitely have the biggest classes and the longest running Goat Yoga classes in the U.S.,” Williams finished.