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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: May 27, 2015

Eagle pose on the East End: Maine YogaFest returns to Portland July 10-12

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.

Written by: Shannon Bryan
Sarah Morrill/ file photo

Sarah Morrill/ file photo

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).

During Maine YogaFest, which returns to Portland’ East End on July 10-12, there plenty of opportunities to try something new. (Check out photos from last year.)

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.

Win YOGAFEST passes!

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.”

Yoga what?

Not sure what acro yoga is? Or SURFSET or aerial yoga? Let these photos help you see what to expect:

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.'”

Maine YogaFest

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.

Win YOGAFEST passes!

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.

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