The first Shasta Yoga Fest was produced by Amy Cooper, owner of the Shasta Yoga Institute. She said her vision was “to create something for our community, to bring diversity and to bring vibrancy, both culturally and economically.”
Shasta Yoga Fest 2015 ended Sunday after three days of kirtan and asana practice enjoyed by out of town visitors and locals alike.
The festival was produced by Amy Cooper, owner of the Shasta Yoga Institute. She said her vision was “to create something for our community, to bring diversity and to bring vibrancy, both culturally and economically.”
She said about one-third of those attending were local, the rest from out of the area.
Although the number of reservations for the weekend was about 75, “we probably had more than 125 people participating overall, because some came just for certain parts of the event,” Cooper said.
A yoga teacher for more than 30 years, Cooper has developed relationships with other instructors from Seattle to Los Angeles.
“The teachers who came were very generous in helping us create this first year event,” she said.
Instructors led participants in asana, or yoga postures, at the Institute.
“People were really happy with the quality of the yoga instruction,” Cooper reported.
Across the street, in the Shasta Base Camp backyard, a tented stage was set up for the musical practice called kirtan.
Kirtan leader Katie Wise, from Boulder, Colo., said the musical form is a kind of call and response, a devotional chanting sent out by the leader and chanted back by the participants. “It’s communal – a spiritual practice, not just a performance.”
Wise suggested that “most people use the voice to get to god.” Each kirtan chant has a different feeling, depending on which god or goddess is being addressed, she explained.
Kirtan leader Mike Cohen said he and the other two primary kirtan leaders came from different parts of the country to participate at Shasta Yoga Fest.
Cooper said that although planning for the event started too late to attract financial sponsors, local businesses donated their venues for festival use.
“Shasta Base Camp donated their backyard for the music, Berryvale donated their park, and Mount Shasta Quantum Healing Center donated their yard for vendors,” she said.
Cooper is hoping to get started earlier next year and increase sponsor participation.
She said Shasta Regional Community Foundation had people who were interested, but the festival would need non-profit involvement or status.
Wise said she visited Lake Siskiyou and StewartMineral Springs while she was in town for the festival, and stayed in a vacation cabin in the woods that she found delightful. She called Berryvale “a second home.”
While she didn’t do any climbing on the mountain last weekend, Wise intends to next time she’s here.
“We all felt nature and the mountain around us throughout the weekend,” she said.