-The following first appeared in The Floyd Press on September 4, 2014 with a larger spread of photos.
The 3rd annual Floyd Yoga Jam provided a full roster of workshops and entertainment, as well as a natural setting for spontaneous play and creativity. There were plenty of open grassy places to dance and do yoga. Meditative practices and classes took place under big tents.
“I was thrilled to see so many children and bikes this year,” said co-founder Laura Polant. Children under 16 get in free to the family friendly event that features circus acrobats, fire dancers, yoga classes, music, plenty of good food vending and art booths, a beer and wine tent and workshops, such as creative writing, family nature adventures, juggling and more.
Children made paper squares out of plant fiber and hung them as ornaments from trees. Toddlers made good use of the giant sandbox, and teenagers and adults used the SolShine’s Solar Café for a chill zone. The majority of children wore elaborate face paint and everyone played in Greasy Creek.
The Labor Day weekend festival draws heavily on the talents of Floyd volunteers, performers and teachers, while also featuring regional and nationally known teachers and acts. Yoga classes taught by California-based MC Yogi drew overflow crowds of more than 200. MC Yogi also played a rousing main stage show that was a highlight for many.
The musical line-up in Jamland got attendees on their feet and, whether it was rock, rap or devotional, the song lyrics were positive. “People really need this,” said Polant about the festival’s focus on inspiration and wellness. It was halfway through Saturday and she was relieved that most of the logistical planning was over. Campers were onsite and everyone was enjoying the sunny weather.
Polant’s fellow co-founder Shirley Ann Burgess spoke about the steady incremental growth of the festival, which takes all year to prepare for. “It’s my night job,” joked Burgess, who juggles booking acts and teachers with running Floyd’s Living Light Yoga Studio. Both founders agree that the festival’s slow steady growth (20 to 25% a year) allows them to fine tune the event. The plan is to keep it small, yet economically
Artistic touches throughout the festival added to the beauty of the rural setting and included an earth mandala, devotional altars, and a mirror with a sign that read “Inquire Within.” An afternoon downpour on Sunday was short-lived and didn’t dampen spirits.
“We love it here. It’s full of spirit,” said Dana Peeler, a festival attendee from South Carolina. Peeler was about to pose with a group of friends who have been meeting up at YogaJam for the past three years. At one time, they all belonged to the same Yoga Studio, the Sweet Onion Yoga Studio, named after its location in Vidalia, Georgia.
“I love the atmosphere, the combination of things to do and the having the chance to unplug,” said one of Peeler’s friends before striking a yogic pose.
First time yoga-jammer, Greg Dorsett, came from Maryland to attend. He plans on coming back next year with some friends and family. “The whole thing was a highlight. Even walking around meeting and greeting others,” he commented. “The walking meditation was powerful for me, and, as someone from out of town, I really appreciated the community and friendship. It was very welcoming.” -Colleen Redman
A dancer from Blacksburg spins to the music of Luna Ray, an Ashevile, NC kirtan singer.
Floyd’s Solshine Alternative Energy Café was a cool place to hang-out and charge-up cell phones with solar power. (This photo appeared on the front page of The Floyd Press.)
Floyd’s own Deer Run Drifters belt out a tune. The band performed on the main stage on Saturday and Sunday.
Two of a group of dancers learn African dance in the Dance Hall Tent, taught by NiiAnang, a Floyd County resident who is originally from Ghana, Africa. NiiAnang is accompanied by a group of local drummers.
The creation and stringing of prayer flags has become a Yoga Jam tradition. Here, two women from Lynchburg add their personalized prayer flag to the mix.
“This is what it’s like to be in a hive making honey,” said MC Yogi, who led chanting and yoga in the Brahma Nirvana Tent.