Balancing Act: Annual Ogden Yoga Fest promotes healing, self-awareness, stress relief

Sep 29 2013 - 11:12pm

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Kara White participates in a Yoga Core Values workshop Saturday at Weber State University in Ogden during the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Tricia Buss participates in a Yoga Core Values workshop Saturday at Weber State University in Ogden during the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Instructor Kathi Needham teaches a Yoga Core Values workshop Saturday at Weber State University in Ogden during the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Instructor Kathi Needham demonstrates a pose during her Yoga Core Values workshop. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Kara White participates in a Yoga Core Values workshop Saturday at Weber State University in Ogden during the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Tricia Buss participates in a Yoga Core Values workshop Saturday at Weber State University in Ogden during the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Instructor Kathi Needham teaches a Yoga Core Values workshop Saturday at Weber State University in Ogden during the second annual Ogden Yoga Fest. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner
Instructor Kathi Needham demonstrates a pose during her Yoga Core Values workshop. 
KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner

OGDEN -- The second annual Ogden Yoga Fest achieved calm amid the chaos.

At the Wildcat Center at Weber State University this weekend, attendees could choose among 38 classes taught by 27 local yoga instructors. All proceeds from Yoga Fest went to Your Community Connection, an organization that helps victims of domestic violence.

Michelle Taylor, organizer of Ogden Yoga Fest and yoga teacher for WSU Campus Recreation, explained how the festival got started.

"We were just looking for a way to build the Ogden (yoga) community. I started volunteering at the YCC Women's Shelter and saw a need there, so I stuck the two together and put together this yoga festival.

"A lot of it came from the idea of the Salt Lake Yoga Festival. I just really love it there and wanted to have something like that here as well."

Taylor said she believes yoga is an important practice for its numerous health benefits ranging from stress relief to exercise to mental discipline. She also credits yoga with alleviating depression.

"I had suffered from really bad depression before I started doing yoga, and since I've been able to have this practice, I don't anymore."

The wide variety of classes at the event gave attendees an extensive yogic buffet to sample.

Stephanie DeTar, a yoga instructor who owns Blooming Lotus Imports, said the event was an excellent way for yoga newbies to stretch their wings.

"It's very affordable, and you can definitely come in and get a sample of the town instructors and different styles," she said.

"Most of these instructors are local; you can find them in a local studio. It's probably the least-expensive yoga festival I've ever been a part of or attended, so we're very fortunate."

The festival also offered classes on meditation, chakras and nutrition.

Geri Miller-Fox and Rene DeLuca, co-owners of Guru Yoga, administered chakra tests to help festival attendees pinpoint the areas in their lives where they were expending too much or too little energy.

"Chakras are energy centers. Rene and I developed a questionnaire for people. It's a self-assessment, and if people answer it honestly, it will show you where a low chakra is, a balanced chakra is or an overactive chakra is," Miller-Fox explained.

"If you pay attention to areas in your life, you can shift the way you spend your energy. So the chakra system gives us a gauge as to where we're putting too much energy and maybe where we should redirect it."

Miller-Fox said examining chakras and practicing yoga are both methods of ancient medicine that help people to study their internal emotional situations for greater personal well-being.

"Yoga provides opportunities for us to slow down and really focus on how we feel and what we want out of life," Miller-Fox said.

"Especially for women, it's important to take that time. They're often caregivers, and they give, give, give -- they don't take a lot of time to take in and really evaluate where they're at with their life. So I think it's a perfect practice -- it's a very healing practice."

Lynn Carroll, of Ogden, said she has been practicing yoga for six years and is excited to have a yoga festival in Ogden.

"It's the first one that I knew about in Ogden. I've been hearing about other festivals, and I think it's great that we've got one here."

With society's ever-quickening pace, DeTar said, it's important for people to find ways to deal with stress.

"I think (yoga is) an important thing to promote globally, just because of the healing qualities. I feel like a lot of people are altering their lives. They're finding great tools for finding the calm amongst the chaos."

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