“One of our main goals from the very beginning was to make yoga accessible,” says Anne-Lisa de Forest of the fourth edition of the annual Yoga Festival Montreal (YFM) three-day celebration, held from June 5 to 7 in the Plateau. Whether you are a yoga lover or you are just curious about yoga, the weekend will feature over 50 hours of workshops, classes, performances, discussion panels and more.
Anne-Lisa and Nadia Stevens, co-founders of the Yocomo yoga community organization, wanted this year’s programming to be joyous, happy and fun .”The festival was becoming more serious and dogmatic, when we wanted people to really feel free and liberated,” says Anne-Lisa. Yocomo is a volunteer-run organization and its profits go to paying teachers, renting rooms and organizing future editions of the event.
This year, two renowned teachers will be present: Lyne St-Roch, founder of Lyne St-Roch Studios, and Melanie Richards, founder of HappyTree Yoga. And for the first time, the festival will have sections open to the public as well as family-friendly classes and teacher-oriented workshops.
Karma Yoga Community Room
There will be free classes all day on Saturday and Sunday for anyone who wants to take a class without buying a pass. People can make donations, which will be used to fund the next edition of YFM. There will be asanas (classic yoga postures), meditation sessions, discussions and music classes held in the Karma Room.
“This year, we decided we’re going to take a leap of faith and open up a section to the public,” explains Anne-Lisa, who wants everyone to feel welcome. “It’s a huge evolution to create a space that’s open for anyone”. Yocomo has to pay for the rented venue, which is why there was always a fee during previous editions.
This year, there is a family day on Saturday for yogis who want to attend with their little ones. Parents and children will interact together and explore yoga through animal posture and fluid movements. There will be asanas, meditation and singing and dancing classes along with some yoga games.
These workshops, offered on Sunday only, are geared towards advanced practitioners and teachers. They were highly requested in the surveys that followed previous editions of the festival. The different workshops will allow teachers and future teachers to develop a greater awareness of their own leadership potential, work with gravity to practice safer adjustments and get the tools to market themselves using social media and networking.
This year, the marketplace will be open to everyone. Discover new products from local artisans ranging from jewelry to clothing to healthy food and drinks.
There are many trends in the yoga world such as Acro Yoga, which is a mix of acrobatics and yoga done in pairs. Another important trend is to highlight is the idea that yoga should be for everyone. Yoga advertising images used to show beautiful and fit-looking women, but lately they are showcasing different body types.
Anne-Lisa thinks that yoga has to be marketed in a way that people feel comfortable to come to class. For example, some classes in Montreal are called round body yoga or yoga for all sizes. “One of the trends is really to try and make yoga more accessible, which is in perfect match with our festival,” explains Anne-Lisa, whose vision was to share yoga with as many people as possible.
“I really never expect more than what we’ve had in the past, which has always been an incredible sense of community, honesty and joy at the festival,” says Anne-Lisa about her expectations for this year’s edition. She just hopes it will be a success and that people will enjoy YFM, especially with the creation of the Karma and Family rooms geared to attract a bigger public.
If you’re still hesitating, you can look at the top 10 reasons to attend the festival here according to Yocomo.
Yoga Festival Montreal
June 5-7, 2015
Le Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal
4750 Henri-Julien Ave
Pricing (excluding taxes):
Full Festival Pass: $160
Saturday or Sunday Pass: $85 each
Children – 12 and under: $10 (first child registered) $5 (for each additional child)
Teens – 13 to 18: $99 for a weekend pass
À la carte: $25 per class