by Yani Ko
Mt. Sequoyah will see the return of the Fayetteville Yoga Fest, “a celebration of mindfulness and movement,” from May 3-5. The three-day festival will include yoga classes, local vendors, food trucks and live music.
The unofficial kickoff for the festival will be an innovative free community class held at First Thursday on the downtown square. It will be similar to a silent disco but with yoga, according to Mary Fennel, co-founder and co-organizer of FYF.
“We teamed up with Experience Fayetteville and lululemon to do a downtown yoga takeover,” said Fennel. “The participants will get to wear headphones that will be hooked up to music and the teacher’s voice so that will be really unique and exciting,” she explained.
The official events kick off on Friday at noon with an opening jam hosted by nationally recognized yoga instructor Gina Caputo, who also headlined last year’s festival.
“Gina is just so down to earth,” said Fennel. “Yoga can be kind of intimidating to a lot of people. She just has a way with relating to everyone,” Fennel said.
Caputo will lead several outdoor classes throughout the weekend which will all be held at Mt. Sequoyah.
Friday evening’s events will conclude with a meet-and-greet sponsored by Bordinos. Attendees will enjoy a happy hour to mingle with organizers and other yogis, with plant-based, vegan and health-centric food options provided by our culinary team.
Fennel said that she and co-founder Krista DeBuhr had the regional yoga community in mind when organizing this year’s event.
“We believe we’re all better together, we can help each other’s businesses and bring more awareness to the local studios and what we have to offer here in Fayetteville,” Fennel said.
Saturday’s events will highlight local instructors and the festival will also invite visiting instructors to the community. Activities range from group hikes and “slack-line” yoga classes to wellness presentations hosted by area experts. The evening concludes with musical entertainment from Fayetteville favorites Arkansauce accompanied by an Indian food truck.
Attendees can enjoy acro-yoga, shopping and music on Sunday before the closing ceremony with headliner Caputo at 2:00 pm.
With last year’s turnout reaching nearly 500 participants, Fennel hopes that this year’s FYF will get even more people involved in the practice of yoga and mindfulness.
“We kind of organically fell into this theme of ‘do yoga and be happy’ because yoga can be really for everyone,” Fennel said. “People do yoga for millions of different reasons but essentially what it boils down to is that it makes you happier, healthier, it teaches you things about yourself and it just make you feel better.”
Day passes and weekend passes can be purchased at www.fayettevilleyogafest.com/tickets/