After months of preparations, ticket sales for the third annual Maine YogaFest (MYF) opened in mid-March. The weekend festival will be held from July 10 to 12 at the East End Community School in Portland and has added more than 15 new workshops to meet the growing demand from attendees.
Up to 1000 yogis are expected to stretch, breathe and relax during this summer’s weekend celebration of yoga, nearly tripling in size since the inaugural festival three years ago. The festival will kick off with an Electric Flow YogaRave led by Nantucket’s Caitlin Marcoux including a live DJ, black lights and red carpet entrance. Throughout the weekend, MYF will feature more than 50 workshops from stand-up paddleboard yoga to “Hot Rock Star Yoga” and “Full Body Prayer”.
“When we first introduced the idea of a yoga festival to the Maine community, people were excited, but unfamiliar with the concept. This year, we had hundreds register in the first few days after opening our schedule,” said Justine Carlisle, co-founder. “It is a weekend celebration of yoga but also so much more. We feature local green businesses and food in our Vendor Village and live music performances. Our goal is to create a magical weekend for our attendees to celebrate health and wellness – of body and mind. As our third event approaches, we have hundreds of yogis from all along the eastern seaboard planning for this weekend of inspiration in their summer schedules.”
The appeal and growth of Maine YogaFest is no surprise given the expansion of the industry in Maine and throughout the nation. A study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association stated more than 24 million U.S. adults practiced yoga in 2013, up from 17 million in 2008, making yoga nearly as popular as golf. There are many reasons for its surge in popularity including the ease of access, appeal to all ages and the myriad number of yoga therapies used to treat mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, acute injuries and diseases from osteoporosis to multiple sclerosis. The applications of yoga are limitless and its broad range of uses suggest that society has just begun to see its surge in popularity as well as comprehend its many benefits.
“Our vision from the outset was to create a community event that raises awareness of the physical and mental benefits of yoga,” said Carlisle. “Yoga encourages people to make healthy choices and can be a powerful tool for healing injury and trauma. Encouraging its growth will greatly benefit our community.”
A number of businesses such as Bangor Savings Bank, Lee Auto Malls, IDEXX Laboratories and A Perfect Smile have supported MYF’s vision to create a dynamic and influential wellness event in the state. This year, two new national Maine-based companies, L.L.Bean and Tom’s of Maine, have partnered with Maine YogaFest to help further expand the offerings of the festival and spread health and wellness in the state.
L.L.Bean will join the festival as the official active apparel sponsor for MYF teachers and staff. In addition, the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools will host two stand-up paddleboard yoga classes at the East End Beach and have an adventure booth in Vendor Village including an appearance of the popular Bootmobile.
Tom’s of Maine will also be featured in Vendor Village and will be supporting MYF’s charitable partner, the Preble Street Teen Center of Portland. Attendees can visit their Goodness Wall and donate natural toothpaste and bar soap to the Teen Center.
“Maine YogaFest embodies so much of what we care about at Tom’s of Maine: staying healthy, celebrating the natural beauty of Maine, supporting causes we care about and connecting with others who shares these values,” said Susan Dewhirst, PR & Goodness Programs Manager. “We’re inspired by the dynamic founders of MYF, honored to sponsor the 2015 Fest and look forward being part of the fun in July.”
Passes to Maine YogaFest can be purchased through their website at http://www.maineyogafest.com. Each pass includes admittance to three or five 90-minute workshops, a lecture from a local health and wellness expert, daily meditations and a donation to the Preble Street Teen Center.
Photo by Maine Yoga Fest.