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Yoga enthusiasts can rejoice, for the fourth annual Newtown Yoga Festival is set for Saturday, August 27, from 9 am to 4 pm, at NYA Sports & Fitness Center, 4 Primrose Street.
The festival was originally established in 2013 to help the Newtown community cope with the aftermath of 12/14. It successfully raised $14,000 and donated the money to a local non-profit to support residents impacted by the shootings.
Not only that, but organizers were able to raise enough money from last year’s festival to offer a free six-week Mindfulness Mediation series at YogaSpace in Bethel. The outpouring of people wanting to take the classes proved to be overwhelming. They surpassed their 50-person class limit when 90 people pre-registered. To accommodate everyone, they set up another series to run simultaneously.
Newtown Yoga Festival representative Suzy DeYoung said, “Our goal is to continue having a positive impact helping the community by providing the tools to manage stress.”
For the upcoming festival, people of all experience levels and ages can attend. It is suggested those wanting to participate bring their own mat, blankets, and props.
For those who may be new to yoga, a popular class is called the Yoga Buffet, which will have three 30-minute sessions offered in the late morning. There, attendees can get a taste of a variety of yoga styles.
They can warm up with Journey Dance or Hoop Yoga (hula hoops will be provided), and then sample style options like gentle yoga, flow yoga, Qi Gong, Core, and Inversions. The Yoga Buffet is also a good option for children who practice yoga.
Newtown Yoga Festival reaches out to many local yoga instructors to teach their classes. This year’s festival headliners are Gwen Lawrence and Elena Brower, with the musical accompaniment of film composer and double bassist Garth Stevenson.
“Garth and Elena have worked together since 2009, at the very first Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe,” explained Ms DeYoung. “The combination of Garth’s standing bass and Elena’s thoughtful teaching creates an atmosphere of elegant transformation. From asana to meditation, the journey with Garth and Elena will be an exquisite experience.”
In addition to offering a number of classes throughout the day, the Newtown Yoga Festival will also have food vendors for lunch, live music, shopping, meditation, sound healing, and a book signing for the children’s book, Yoga Bear: Yoga for Youngsters by author and Newtown Yoga Festival co-founder Karen Pierce.
Ms DeYoung said, “Yoga not only unites body, breath, and brain but also brings about a deep sense of connectedness. Victims of violence will have a lifetime of need. Yoga provides some of the many tools to manage the after effects of trauma. Newtown Yoga Festival offers exposure to one such path.
“We hope people will come with an open mind and leave with an open heart.”
There is a suggested $30 donation. Children under 16 years old can attend for free. For more information or to register for this year’s Newtown Yoga Festival, visit newtownyogafestival.org.
For anyone who is interested in being a volunteer, vendor, silent auction donor, or sponsor for next year’s festival, contact Newtown Yoga Festival by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.