WSU hosts 2nd annual Ogden Yoga Fest

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(Photo by Tony Post) Students and community members participate in the second annual Yoga Fest held at Weber State University on Saturday and Sunday.

Weber State University hosted the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest on Saturday and Sunday, featuring 27 instructors teaching 38 classes over the course of the two days. It was held in the new addition of the Stromberg Center and featured vendors and instructors from the greater Ogden and Salt Lake areas.

The festival was a nonprofit event, with the proceeds benefiting Your Community Connection, an Ogden charity that provides domestic violence counseling and shelter, counseling for rape victims, transitional housing programs for homeless families, and food and clothing, and serves more than 150 families a week.

Event coordinator Michelle Taylor said that when she started volunteering at YCC, she realized “what an incredible resource it is for the community.”

When Taylor started to put the first event together last year, she was “looking for somebody to donate to, because we knew we wanted it to be a nonprofit event.” Once she started volunteering her time to YCC, she saw it was “really an incredible place where families can go to get help.”

The festival offered everything from “Yoga for Beginners” classes to more advanced, high-speed power yoga courses such as “Kick Your Asana.” Taylor said she wanted to put on an event where it didn’t matter if participants were “brand-new or you’ve been practicing for 20 years.” She said she wanted anyone to be able to come and have a good experience.

Yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual discipline of movement and pose in an attempt to gain peace, and affords individuals the “opportunity for our bodies and minds to shut down, for us to just stop and pull back,” according to Laura Thompson, owner of TimeLess Yoga in South Ogden and one of the many instructors who volunteered to come out and teach at the event.

People who do yoga can “find whatever motion you want, even aerobic moves,” Thompson said. “It keeps me fitter and less stressed than I would otherwise be.”

In a world that puts people under constant duress, yoga combines exercise with stress relief to afford maximum payoff.

One student in attendance was Tianna Woodhead, a senior at WSU who is fairly new to yoga. She first got into yoga to “gain the flexibility and strength that you see the instructors have,” and now that she’s been doing it for a little while, she enjoys the fact that “it’s really fun and kicks your butt.”

Woodhead said the event exceeded her expectations, and that the $15 pass to the 12-hour session on Saturday was more than worth it.

“The teachers have been amazing, and this has been a great way to give you an idea of what to expect out of studio yoga classes, and it was definitely worth the money.”

According to Taylor, turnout for the event was “really good, and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, and the teachers have been fantastic, and all of them donated their time to come down and teach at this festival. Nobody is getting paid; all the teachers are very knowledgeable, and everyone volunteered their experience and time. The majority are Ogden-based instructors, but several have come up from Salt Lake to teach, simultaneously showcasing the wealth of knowledge Ogden yoga has to offer while also supporting a noble cause.”

The event was held in the Shepherd Union Building last year, but this year it was in the newly expanded gym, which is “a much better match for the event,” Taylor said. “The rooms are better adapted to yoga.”

With the simple layout and new wood flooring, the facility afforded more space for the 200-plus people who attended.

Plans are already in the works for another event next year, but for students and faculty who want to get involved sooner, Campus Recreation offers daily yoga classes on both the WSU main campus and the Davis campus. Schedules are available on the WSU Campus Recreation webpage.