my dream yoga festival (or, why every city needs its own small-scale locally-driven community yoga event)

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Yoga Festival Montreal!

It’s been a quiet week on IAYB! I ended up taking an unintended mini-hiatus while I’ve been focusing my energy on last minute details for Yoga Festival Montreal, the community-driven, fiercely local yoga event that I co-founded last year. The second edition goes down in just one short week, May 31 to June 2 (omg!).

Collaborative community event coordination is challenging and humbling. I’m working on an awesome team with four other women, and we discuss and debate every single decision around the festival, from the program schedule to exhibitors to poster design. While we have areas of responsibility (mine is faculty, communications and media relations, obv), we are all involved in every aspect of the project, and we think long and hard about everything.

The festival is my dream yoga community event. Matthew Remski described it perfectly: “on a shoestring budget in a non-corporate space, featuring all local teachers who will be all paid the same wage, workshops on yoga and social activism, no corporate sponsorship or import vendors, with all advertising materials printed in soy ink on 100% recycled papers…” (Although, admittedly, the shoestring budget isn’t part of my dream). 

Anyway, I’m excited about everything about Yoga Festival Montreal. But there are few things that I’m particularly excited about, and here they are:

Opening Night Soirée ~ I can’t wait to kick off the festival with this rocking party, including music, an AcroYoga performance, Bollywood dance and a fashion show! Oh yeah.

Awesome sessions ~ Looking forward to a discussion on activism and self-care; Montreal yoga pioneer Joan Ruvinsky’s Ripening In Yoga; blindfolded yoga (!!) with Yasmin F. Gow; ridiculous fun yoga dance remix crazy times; a hot conversation attempting to demystify yoga therapy; a “kata yoga” practice with Quebeoise yoga superstar Lyne St. Roch (she has DVDs and everything!); the yoga of sound with harpist and healer Hannah Roberts Brockow; and Mylène Roy’s “danga” class (that’s right, dance + yoga, two of my favourite things!).

Community conversation on yoga, accessibility and inclusivity ~ This is the IRL conversation that I’ve been wanting to see for a long, long time. A handpicked “distinguished panel” of Montreal yoga teachers, studio owners, academics and community organizers will get the conversation rolling, and then it’s open to everyone. I’m so excited to see what emerges from this Saturday night feature.

Last year when we were gearing up for the festival, Montreal was a city on the edge of a revolution. The city was urgent and electric, and it felt strange – yet perfect – to be organizing a yoga festival in the midst of the upheaval.

Everything is different this year. The city is quiet, save for metro shut-downs, boil water alerts and the beginning of construction season. I’m sure this means something, but it’s Friday afternoon, I’ve been hustling a yoga festival all week and my brain is tired. Stay tuned for more festival and community musings between now and May 31!

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