With the recent addition of Utah State University’s yoga studies minor and teacher training program, Aggies are really getting their “om” on.
The yoga flow continued on Saturday as students, community members and yoga instructors joined together at the Smithfield Recreation Center for an all-day yoga festival benefiting The Family Place.
Classes at the Yogafest encompassed all levels, from beginner to advanced, and even included workshops in Mala bead making, partner yoga and acro yoga.
“It went better than I could have hoped for,” said Reina Forsythe, festival organizer and yoga instructor. “This is only our second year of the festival and we ended up raising twice as much money for The Family Place as we did last year.”
Students were encouraged to attend with a discounted ticket price. Festival attendees received free lunch and yoga goodies to supplement four yoga classes of their choice.
“I attended a yoga festival a couple years ago in another community, and when I found out it was organized as a fundraiser for a local charity, I thought about how great it would be to have a similar event in Cache Valley,” said David Zook, a Yogafest committee member and organizer. “I’ve volunteered with The Family Place for a couple years and thought the event would be a perfect opportunity to help raise money for our local children’s shelter.”
The Yogafest featured yoga instructors from various Cache Valley yoga studios, including Transcend Yoga and Elevation Rock Gym. Zook encouraged students to seek out yoga studios in Cache Valley for exercise and relaxation.
“Being a student is stressful and it puts stress on you emotionally, physically and mentally,” he said. “Yoga can help you relax, expend stressful energy that you need to get out of your body, and help you to be physically fit to help endure the rigors of college life.”
Popi Snow, a Utah State University senior, was one of the students who attended the Yogafest. She recommends yoga as a way to take control of one’s life, thoughts and emotions.
“I’m here because I’m interested in helping myself,” she said. “I would recommend yoga to anyone because it’s a mindfulness exercise. As a student, I find the stress of juggling all parts of your life is really hard, so when you practice yoga and practice clearing your thoughts, it makes it easier to start new every day.”
Zook plans to continue the Yogafest as an ongoing, Cache Valley-centric event, like the LoToJa Bike Race.
“There are a lot of fun, active, community events that allow people to try something new and learn,” he said. “We hope this event will continue to be one of those events for new yogis and experienced yogis.”