A yoga festival is coming to Weber State University that will include yoga classes, henna tattoos, massages, acupuncture, and yoga merchandise vendors.
On Sept. 8, the Ogden Yoga Fest will take place in the Shepherd Union Building at WSU. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The yoga fest is planned to be an annual event.
This year, 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to Your Community Connection, a nonprofit organization that seeks to meet the needs of the community.
A donation will be asked for entry. If participants prepay, the entry fee is $10. Entry will cost $14 at the door.
Laura Thompson, the owner of Ogden YOGA, said the local yoga community is tight-knit.
“My goal isn’t to bring people into my studio; it’s to bring people yoga,” she said. “I don’t care where they get it or where they go to it; I just want them to have yoga in their life.”
Michelle Taylor, a local yoga instructor and WSU graduate, is credited by other instructors for coming up with the event.
“Normally when you go to something like this, you’re going to pay a couple hundred dollars for it,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the festival will offer 17 classes by 13 different teachers. After paying the one-time fee, participants can attend as many classes as they choose for the day.
“We’re probably not going to raise a whole ton of money, but I think raising awareness and letting them know that this is there, that the women’s shelter and that this yoga is there, is really what our goal is — just letting people know,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who volunteers at YCC once a week, said the festival will offer yoga classes for varying situations and body types. Certain classes might benefit athletic bodies, larger bodies, families, children, or couples. A chair class is also offered, which may benefit seniors or people afraid of balancing poses.
“I want the person who’s never done yoga before and who’s scared of doing yoga to know that they can come,” said Stephanie Courtney, the owner of Head To Toe Yoga, which is co-sponsoring the event alongside The Yoga Loft at The Front.
Scientific studies have shown that yoga can help with varying physical ailments.
“And the reason we started teaching yoga was because we fell in love with yoga and yoga healed us in some way,” she said. “I had back pain, when all of a sudden I started doing yoga, I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, my back doesn’t hurt anymore.’”
While Courtney is an advocate for yoga, she said it’s not a cure-all.
“Listen to your doctor; take medication. But, if I can go to a yoga class instead of taking a Valium or a Xanax, wouldn’t that be a better choice?”
Courtney said she recommends “doctor first, yoga second.”
In Utah, no certifications are required to teach yoga. However, many instructors choose to join the Yoga Alliance, a global organization that sets out teacher guidelines.
After meeting specific criteria, the Yoga Alliance will issue instructors the title of Registered Yoga Teacher. After 1,000 hours of teaching, instructors are eligible for the title of Experienced RYT.
Courtney and Taylor are both RYTs, while Thompson is an E-RYT. The three instructors agreed that students should learn from certified Yoga Alliance teachers. Thompson said she can’t think of a studio in the Ogden area that doesn’t have registered instructors, or at least instructors who are in the process of certification.
“In every single yoga class you’ll ever go to, as long as you have a good teacher, the teacher is going to talk about mindfulness,” Taylor said. “Be in your body, be in the moment, breathe into your body, stay with the breath. That is really where the yoga is. It’s not necessarily with the postures, because the postures don’t matter; they’re just postures. It’s being in your body and being with your breath, and that’s yoga.”
The instructors recommended participants bring their own yoga mats if possible. They also suggested wearing comfortable, stretchy clothes that are easy to move in.