Event

Cannon Beach Yoga Festival: Tips for Making the Most of Your Experience

A Look Back

 

Going to my first yoga festival, I anticipated the beautiful setting, great teachers and a weekend full of inspiring workshops. I was prepared to be humbled by the level of experience among attendees and to transition from my identity as a teacher into that of a student. What I did not expect when I signed up for the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival, however, was the palpable energy of love and warmth I felt as I arrived at the opening ceremony, suddenly surrounded by a powerful collection of heart-centered men and women.

It seems obvious that a yoga festival would draw individuals who live according to a shared practice and principle, but it never occurred to me that the quiet little host town of Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast would be saturated in a loving, kind and splendid energy throughout the weekend. The rare beauty of the place with its spectacular ocean views, walkable downtown center and the hospitable nature of the small community, made the charming sea village perfect for this intimate, boutique festival.

At this particular festival, renowned teachers, Annie Carpenter, Aadil Palkhivala and Sarahjoy Marsh taught to approximately 200 attendees in small classes of 15-30 students. Group meditations were led each morning by yoga therapist Kelly Ponzi and followed by classes like, Yoga Body Buddha Mind by author and founder of NYC’s OM Yoga Center, Cyndi Lee, Hips Extravaganza by Julie Gudmestad and my personal festival highlight, Imagination Yoga® for Kids by Portland’s fun and enthusiastic sister team, Jamie Hopkins and Jessica McClintic. I came away having rejuvenated my practice and with many things to impart to my own yoga community. I also came away with some tips and tricks to impart to anyone attending their first festival.

 

Travel Tips

 

Pack as light as possible: I lugged around a heavy bag all weekend with one too many yoga mats (among other unnecessary items). It’s best to bring a lightweight travel mat and leave any extraneous items in the car or at the hotel.

Have a notebook handy: Fortunately, the Cannon beach Yoga Festival supplied its participants with a journal and pen. I utilized mine over and over again writing down new information or inspiration from festival speakers and teachers during class. You’ll also use it to collect contact information from people you meet.

Bring your own props: I brought with me two blocks, a strap and a blanket and used them all. I would also advise bringing lightweight foam blocks instead of heavy cork ones if possible, you don’t want to haul around a lot of unnecessary weight.

Pack snacks: There can be short breaks between classes, not leaving enough time for a full meal. Bring light snacks that won’t interfere with your practice or breathwork, and choose things like bananas, cheese, granola bars or grapes.

Take a folder or envelope: You’ll meet lots of people you want to connect with. Bring an envelope for collected materials like business cards and brochures for other programs you're interested in attending in the future.

Stray from your comfort zone: The advantage of traveling out of town for a yoga festival, is the opportunity to gain new experiences on and off the mat. Be open to trying new postures and learning different disciplines. Take classes from teachers you wouldn’t ordinarily get to learn from and classes that aren’t offered at your home studio.

Leave your ego behind: Yoga festivals draw heart-centered people who make it a priority to grow as individuals and practitioners. These festivals are not about what you’re wearing or showing off. Be humble and work on bettering yourself and make a point to learn from, not only new teachers, but other students.

 

Attending a yoga festival is a beautiful way to connect with respected teachers, participate in inspiring workshops and deepen your practice. “These kinds of experiences can lead to big shifts in people's lives. These shifts may not be immediately evident, but knowledge leads to growth and transformation.” Says Cannon Beach founder and director Christen Allsop. Whatever festival you attend, make knowledge your aim and be open to the many possibilities for growth.

Find information on next year’s Cannon Beach Yoga Festival, March 6-8, 2015 at cannonbeachyogafestival.com.

Have you attended a yoga festival and want to offer some advice to fellow yogis? Please share in the comments below!

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Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, a new studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged Pacific Northwest coast.  You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.

 

Images via: North Coast Citizen,

5 Reasons to Fly Solo to Your Next Yoga Festival

You want to go to a yoga festival, but your friends are dragging their feet and struggling to find the money. This isn’t the first time you’ve almost had the trip planned and friends have bailed on you. If you have a deep desire to go, let this post be your push to actually do it SOLO! This might be the biggest and best opportunity of your life! If this idea makes you apprehensive, there might be more to gain going it alone then you realize.

In your yoga practice, you’ve studied detachment. You’ve practiced hours on the mat letting go of discomfort in your asana, you’ve been practicing detachment from your inner chatter during meditation, but how are you doing letting go of old habits? As Wayne Dyer says, “You can’t be alone if you like the person you’re alone with”.

Grab your suitcase and get packing!

 

Here are a few things to consider when taking the plunge:

  1. Are you apprehensive about traveling alone? Consider finding a retreat within driving distance or in a city you’re already familiar with-this will settle the nerves and give you confidence. There are wonderful and beautiful retreats and festivals happening closer than you think.
  1. Pick smaller festivals. Larger festivals might leave you feeling overwhelmed by choices, schedules and thousands of people. Talk to your yoga teachers and mentors at home and ask them which festivals would be a good fit for your level of practice or which ones will offer what you’re looking to experience.

  1. Do your research. Call the organization putting the festival on and ask questions. Definitely tell them if it’s your first time attending a yoga festival and mention it’s your first time attending their festival. You want to know if you need to pre-register for any workshops, will you be able to walk to and from your hotel or dorm easily to the classes? Find out what the meal options are. Is there a local market or stores nearby?

  2. Pack a journal. You’ll find perfect moments for quiet time where you’ll be inspired to  sit down and write, and you’ll see others doing the same thing. Park yourself in a corner and be an observer. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people. The power and energy at festivals is contagious. Don’t be surprised, you’re going to meet all kinds of people. When you’re solo, you’re much more available to have new experiences and chance encounters.

  1. Be Open. Expect a little anxiety if the solo thing is new for you. Being open from the get-go will leave room for you to find humor in the mishaps and the fun of figuring out the lay of the land by yourself. You might have a few butterflies as you approach the registration table the first day, or you may simply feel awkward being alone in general, let those feelings pass with a smile. You’ll be in good company. Trust yourself, be confident and enjoy your independence!

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Julie Konrad, RYT  has been teaching and practicing Hatha yoga in Cleveland, OH for 9 years. Last year, she converted her living room into a yoga studio to create a space for her community to come together and practice. It’s a truly home grown and organic experience for students and family alike. It’s not unusual to find her three little girls using the space to teach yoga to their dolls or for a full class to be happening there! Julie's writing has been featured in Elephant Journal, The Magazine of Yoga and Natural Vitality Living. You can find out more about Julie at www.lunapresenceyoga.com.

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