Ally Bogard will be one of the many yoga teachers participating in the inaugural Kootenay Spirit Festival from September 12 to 14.

Ally Bogard will be one of the many yoga teachers participating in the inaugural Kootenay Spirit Festival from September 12 to 14.

Spirit Festival features yoga superstars

Teachers at the inaugural event will encourage mindfulness, healthy living.

Yoga is for everybody.

That’s the message of this year’s first ever Kootenay Spirit Festival, which is being held from Friday to Sunday and features some of the biggest superstars of the yoga world.

“The classes we’ll be offering are really varied, from thing like the art of self-care to focusing on balance in your postures and your life, to a class on party dance or another one on chanting mantra. There will be a wide variety of classes for every skill level,” said coordinator Trisha Wilson.

One of the teachers who will be driving this point home is Nelson yoga icon Mary-Jo Fetterly, who opened the first studio in Nelson before becoming quadriplegic in 2005. She continues to teach Iyengar yoga through Shanti Yoga studio, and will be offering classes during the weekend.

“Most people in Nelson will know her,” said Wilson. “She offers a message of how to create transformation in our lives through inspiration.”

Wilson said Fetterly will teach tantra yoga, incorporating breath practice and meditation as well as guiding students through a series of postures.

“We love that she represents that yoga can be practiced by anyone. It’s not about being incredibly flexible. It’s beyond the physical. It’s so much more,” she said.

Another headlining teacher is Ally Bogard, owner of the Gaiatri Yoga teacher training program, who once lived here and now teaches worldwide.

“She’s an incredibly inspiring teacher, loved by many,” said Wilson.

Bogard’s classes emphasize thoughtful and meticulous alignment and sequencing to “allow the physical and energetic body to hold and emit higher frequencies of light” according to the festival website.

Another highlight is a class being taught by local teacher Sat Kaur Khalsa, who will provide a class on Kundalini yoga accompanied by Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa.

To emphasize the inclusive nature of the festival, there will be a free event held in Lakeside Park, with yoga demonstrations, workshops, hoola hooping, as well as kirtan and reggae soul music.

“We really wanted to feature the beauty and nature of this region, and we thought that was the perfect location,” said Wilson.

“We’re extremely excited as this approaches. People are beginning to gather in Nelson for this first-time event. We hope to continue for many years.”

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