I found out about the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival about two years ago. It is held at a private campground in August near Ithaca, New York situate on Lake Cayuga one of the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. Last year I decided I wanted to go but I decided too late and couldn’t find a hotel and I did not want to camp at the festival like many of the other do. So this year I put the plans in action in the spring; bought my tickets to the festival, reserved a nearby hotel room and requested the time off of work.
The yoga festival was held August 8 – 11, 2013. I decided to go up on Friday, August 9th. Originally I had planned to visit the festival on both Friday and Saturday but unfortunately on the first night of the festival, Thursday, there were torrential downpours and some flooding in the area so even though I was near the festival on Friday I decided to do the other things I had planned to do while I was in the area. That being to visit one of my favorite wineries on Lake Cayuga – Lucas Vineyards. I didn’t sample any of the wine that day since I was driving but I know it’s good because I have tasted their wines before. I did buy a few things in the gift shop.
After visiting the winery I decided to visit the nice park and Marina that is near Ithaca. You can see evidence of the flooding from my pictures. This was a park and the soccer field was flooded.
The marina was pretty dead that day. No boats out on the water:
On my walk I got to see what I think is Cornell University. One of the great attractions for Ithaca, NY:
On Saturday I finally made it to the festival. I arrived around 10:30 and classes were already in progress so I walked around the campground to waste time until the next classes were available. The festival took place on the grounds of Spruce Row campground. Not directly on the campground site but next to it. The campground is a bit rustic but while walking around I noticed how happy the campers were.
The first yoga class I participated in at the festival was a nice Ashtanga yoga class. The instructor was in the process of obtaining her teaching certification and her own teacher was there. Talk about intimidation. She did a great job though. I was worried that I wouldn’t care for it because sometimes I get bored by the vinyasa repetition of Ashtanga yoga but she kept it interesting. This class was about an hour. Both men and women participated. One heckler thought it would be cute to remain in savasana for the whole class but this didn’t rattle the instructor at all. I, however, felt this was really rude of the guy and if he wanted to just lie down he should have gone back to the campsite.
The second yoga class I participated in was a gentle vinyasa flow. The teacher had her baby with her – I’d guess the infant was about 3 months old. A real cutie. The instructor tended to her while she taught but she didn’t miss a beat – this included breast feeding the infant when the baby got hungry. This class was very relaxing. It was very slow and we held the poses a bit longer than we did in the previous class. This class was also about an hour. Interestingly no men participated in this class. I was all jelly after this one.
Between classes I visited the Raw Goddess stand which was a food vendor on premises. I got hummus and raw crackers of nuts and seeds along with a coconut/chocolate sweet treat. It was all delicious.
The day was beautiful but I was going to leave after the first two classes but then they serviced the port-a-potties (which I hate to use) and I decided I could stay a bit longer. I really wanted to try a class called Body Bliss. I am so happy that I did. This class made the trip worth it 100%. It was so fun and fresh. The instructor played the guitar and sang and had a DJ with her to play music. This class was about 90 minutes long and both men and women participated. It was a combination of vinyasa yoga in the beginning and then went into a more free flow type of yoga with a long relaxation segment at the end. Singing/chanting it was all fun.
The final class I participated in at the festival was Yoga Dance (the instructor is in the pic above with the blue tank top on). I decided to stay for this one because I had spoken with the girl who was instructing and she had driven in from Buffalo, NY. She had driven about as far as I had so I knew it had to be something special. I was glad I stayed. This was a completely free form type of yoga where the instructor guided you through it offering suggestions of movement. It was 90 minutes of movement all over the place but it was fun. Both men and women participated in this class. I am sure from the outside looking in we looked goofy!
The day was very beautiful and the sun was warm. An interesting observation that I made from the classes was that men did not participate in the more gentle type yoga. They seemed to want to participate in the yoga that offered more of a strength appeal than a relaxing appeal.
Here is a shot of a class in progress:
I loved the festival. This festival touts itself on being non-commercialized, rustic and totally focused on yoga. I wish I had had better weather to enjoy Friday at the festival but I was totally blown away by the Body Bliss class on Saturday that I felt the whole trip was worth it. It was truly a transforming class. The Finger Lakes Yoga Festival trip was a success and I hope to visit again next year.