Roll out the mats. Maine YogaFest returns to Portland July 10-12. The festival drew hundreds yogis – from novices to the well-practiced – to the East End last year for yoga workshops, meditation and music. Now organizers are adding even more to this year’s weekend event.
Yoga has always been about trying new things.
Whether that means finally giving hot yoga a whirl or attempting crow pose for the first time, yoga lends itself to experimentation (even if that experimentation leads you to discover that you’re not quite ready to balance on one foot unless you’re within reaching distance of a trustworthy wall).
The weekend festival is a chance for local yogis to expand their practice and for novices to try yoga for the first time. There’s a range of classes – from the leisurely paced Easy Like Sunday Morning workshop to the more intense Hot Rock Star Yoga. And pretty much everything you can think of in between.
We’ve got 20 passes to the July 11 Buti Yoga workshop at Maine YogaFest and we’re giving them away. Want one? Go to MaineToday’s Facebook page to enter to win.
Last year’s most popular and unique classes – like Aerial Yoga, Acro Yoga, Paddleboard Yoga and Slackline Yoga – are back, although some have already filled up (hence why we’re telling you about this now – so you can sign up before everything fills up). And there are new workshops this year, too: Yoga for Runners, SURFSET and Beach Bootcamp, among others.
Classes are taught by yoga instructors from all over the state – from Kittery to Fort Kent – as well as a few instructors from out of state, and workshops take place at the East End Community School (some classes take place on and near the water at East End Beach).
Several lectures are sprinkled throughout the weekend, too – like Holistic Nutrition, Opening your Intuition and Creating a Sacred Space – as are meditation sessions, so attendees can stretch their minds as well as their bodies.
And while the notion of wandering into a full weekend of yoga might sound daunting to someone new to the practice, organizers stress that YogaFest truly is for anyone who’s interested, experienced or not.
“We’re welcoming to everyone,” said Maine YogaFest’s Justine Carlisle. “We want to open up everyone’s eyes to yoga and how it can change your life physically as well as mentally.”
“Part of the reason we wanted to add classes of all levels is so it’s not intimidating,” she said. “There’s absolutely a good mix of classes.”
Not sure what acro yoga is? Or SURFSET or aerial yoga? Let these photos help you see what to expect:
Aerial Yoga. "Take your yoga practice off the ground one limb at a time in a progression that suits you. Aerial yoga is designed to challenge you spiritually, mentally, and physically. Physically it will allow your body to find its true alignment and accelerate your natural ability to improve balance with the assistance of the fabric. The aerial yoga asanas may also help you "lift and lengthen" as well as strengthen core muscles. " Photo by Kimberly Lindner Photography
Acro Yoga (acrobatics + yoga). "Open and deepen your practice with the ease, comfort and the support of a partner. This workshop touches upon all the disciplines that the ancient lineages of Yoga, Acrobatics and Thai Massage have to offer." Credit: Courtney Elizabeth Media
Yoga Rave. "An electrifying and dynamic two-hour vinyasa practice led by Nantucket-based yoga teacher Caitlin Marcoux and accompanied by Portland's own DJ Jon. Caitlin, who's roots are grounded in modern dance and PranaFlow, will encourage you to dig in deep, let go even deeper, tap into your inner primal rhythms, spiritual prowess and creative juices. " Photo by Courtney Elizabeth Media
SURFSET. "SURFSET classes take place on the RipSurferX, a unique board designed to mimic movements of surfing while indoors! This unstable surface challenges you to engage stability and core muscles, while allowing space for movement through full body exercises." Photo by Shannon Bryan
Slackline Yoga. "To balance on a one-inch piece of tubular webbing is challenging and demands and hones ones focus, balance and core integration. Through a series of dynamic yoga asanas or poses from seated postures to standing to arm balancing, one will be tested on their ability to breathe with ease. Attainable for all levels of yoga practitioners." Photo by Kimberly Lindner Photography
Paddleboard Yoga. "Paddleboarding yoga offers a unique opportunity to enjoy two fun and healthful activities on calm, pristine waters. You'll be welcomed to the course with an easy introduction to basic paddling strokes and balancing techniques." Photo by Courtney Elizabeth Media
There are also plenty of options for more or less intense sessions, because taking multiple yoga classes in one day or one weekend can be exhausting, even for practiced yogis. That’s where the more low-key classes come in.
“We added a lot of more restorative classes that aren’t so strenuous physically so it’s easier to balance your schedule,” said Carlisle. “It doesn’t need to be all about athleticism.” This way, you can take several classes and not overload your body.
The festival kicks off on Friday night with the Yoga Rave. Like last year’s Black Light Yoga, the Yoga Rave will be a high-energy event in a room lit with black lights (so bring your neon, glow-in-the-dark everything). Instructor Caitlin Marcoux will lead the rave and DJ Jon will provide the music. And on your way in, you’ll be treated to a red carpet entrance where you can stop and get your picture taken by the paparazzi.
Between sessions all weekend, attendees can check out the Vendor Village, which will be open all day on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be a host of vendors, food trucks and live music from local performers like Inanna. There will be complimentary massages and chiropractic adjustments, hair braiding, as well as a kids camp for young ones.
And somewhere between Butt-Kicking Beach Yoga and the Goddess Rising Workshop, you might discover something wonderfully new to you, whether you’re finding yoga for the first time or venturing out of your yoga comfort zone.
“This is a festival that is supposed to be fun,” said Carlisle. “Try something you’ve never tried before. You can just try something different. Try Aerial, try Slackline. You might try it and find ‘I absolutely love this.'”
July 10-12, East End Community School, 195 North Street, Portland and East End Beach. $90 for three-workshop pass and $125 for five-workshop pass through June 1. Prices may increase after June 1. $35 for yoga rave. maineyogafest.com
We’ve got 20 passes to the July 11 Buti Yoga workshop at Maine YogaFest and we’re giving them away. Want one? Go to MaineToday’s Facebookbook page to enter to win.