shri fest: a locally sourced yoga event

The future of yoga is localism. The future of everything is localism, actually. A quiet retaliation against the monolithic yoga conference is growing and smaller, community-organized events are popping up in cities around the continent.

The latest addition to this evolving list is Shri Fest, a yoga and arts festival taking place in Collingwood, Ontario on November 2-4, 2012. Collingwood is a town of 20,000 northwest of Toronto. Shri Fest will happen at Blue Mountain Village, a ski hill resort owned by Intrawest.

The weekend long event will feature more than 35 workshops, taught by 15 yoga Toronto area teachers, including Matthew Remski, Scott Petrie and JP Tamblyn. There will also be optional events such as hiking, kirtan and a “Farm to Table” dinner prepared with food sourced from the Simcoe County area.

I asked organizer Shirlee Williams some questions (by email) about the vision behind Shri Fest.

Do you consider this to be a grassroots event?

Yes, it is something we have started from the ground up. Shri Fest includes local teachers from the Great Toronto Area (GTA) and the area surrounding Collingwood. I based the invitation to teachers on two things: proximity to Collingwood and their community involvement.

Why is it called “Shri Fest”?

I have always loved the word Shri. Although the Sanskrit word has many meanings, one of its most common definitions is “beauty.” When people come together and share their energy, beauty is created. I am always amazed at how beautiful people feel when practicing yoga. The festival is also open to artists in our area to come and share their own individual beauty through whatever medium they are using.

How did you decide which artists and musicians to include on the programming?

Things kind of grew organically. Kirtan musician Jim Gelcer and I had worked together before and he offered his services as music director. He is so well connected in the community I let him do all the planning. I chose the artists, and tried to select a variety of different mediums and backgrounds.

Shri Fest
November 2 – 4, 2012
Blue Mountain Village, Collingwood, Ontario