Over the course of five days, from August 30th- September 3rd, the third annual Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Festival will offer a wrap-around yoga festival with something for every level of practitioner. Featuring more than 25 classes, food, clothes, meditation and more, this five-day festival strives to offer the most holistic festival possible - for those who live yoga to those just learning how to breathe.
The Festival was founded in 2010 by Kathy Bega and is now produced by Bega and Mollie Doyle. There is no question that the Martha’s Vineyard population contains a great many yoga practitioners and instructors. “Martha's Vineyard is a very special place because it is an island. You must work to get here,” said Doyle. “It attracts people who want something more than what is just in front of them where they are or that is easy. Yoga practitioners are the same kind of people -- they like sweating, twisting, working for their bliss.”
Even though the festival is small-scale, some of the country’s most popular teachers will be taking part. “The most extraordinary thing is our size. We are tiny, yet have huge deal teachers,” said Doyle. “This means that practitioners who come here get to actually meet and talk to the teachers who are presenting, rather than just take a class and walk out having never said a word to the teacher they just took a class with, which is what happens at most festivals and conferences. Here a student can have a smoothie after class, go for a swim with the teacher they just took class with. This is a magical exchange.”
Some of the teachers coming from off-Island include popular LA teacher Saul David Raye, Yoganation’s Sara Ivanhoe, The Shala’s Kristin Leigh and Barbara Verrochi, Conquering Lion’s Kelly Morris, Hatch NYC Founder Toni Melaas, Hart Yoga’s Lindel Hart, Yoga Shanti’s Lynda Lee O’Laughlin and Lululemon Ambassador Michelle Boullion. “These are some of the biggest names in the yoga world and they will all be here, in one place next weekend,” said Doyle.
In addition to having big name off-Island instructors, one of the festivals missions was to get most, if not all, of the Island studios involved. Doyle said that they are proud to say that they have most. “We’ve got Claire Parkhurst’s Vineyard Haven hot yoga studio Tapas, Primo Lombardi’s new Oak Bluff’s studio the Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Center, Scarlet and Rex Jarrell’s The Yoga Barn, The Yard, Andrew Estrella’s Vineyard Yoga in West Tisbury and Yoga Haven’s Sherry Sidoti who is co-producing our one day immersion with her teacher Saul David Raye.”
With its central hub being the where the space will be designed and transformed by local architect Peter Breese and Breeze Hodson Tonnesen, the festival promises more than yoga. There will be a pop-up yoga clothing shop featuring clothes by the Island’s Stina Sayre, Gabriella Camilleri, along with Hyde Yoga and Foat Design and jewelry by Tiny Devotions.
There will also be free early morning meditation with Sarah Davis who spent 10 years studying and teaching yoga and vipassana meditation in Asia and Europe. Om of Motion’s Kimberly Cartwright will be sponsoring a free bike ride with meditation on Sunday and Griffin Hughes of the Boathouse and Nicole Corbo of Aloho MV Paddle will be offering a sunset standup stretch and paddle.
Finally, not to be missed, Chris Fischer and his team will be cooking a vegan feast on Friday, August 31st and serving it in Beetlebung Farm’s greenhouse. Special guests will include other Island farmers who will share personal stories about the disasters and discoveries that come when trying to grow your own food and bring it home to your table. Fischer will also be running a yoga café at the Chilmark Community Center cooking up delicious, organic and very local (the vegetables will be walked over) food all weekend. Serving smoothies, juices, salads, the café hopes to be the health food restaurant yogis dream of. Even those not doing yoga are welcome to stop by and get lunch or a fresh juice on the way to the beach.
Asked what she is most looking forward to, Doyle said, “lying in savasana (the last pose, corpse pose) next to Bega and looking over and smiling as we see a sea of sweaty bodies around us.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Festival takes place at the from August 30th – September 3rd. Prices range from $25 for a one hour Master class to $45 for a 2 hour workshop and $125 for the full day immersion with Saul David Raye. All are $10 dollars more at the door. For those who might find class prices a bit out of their price range or who just want to get involved, the festival is in need of volunteers. For every hour served, a volunteer gets a free hour of yoga. Please contact Kathy Bega: 508.274.4682 for more information. The full schedule of classes can be found at www.mvyogafestival.com.