Farmer Yoga: Yoga Festivals Offer Body-Care Immersion

Reader Contribution by Lisa Kivirist and Inn Serendipity
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The homesteading lifestyle definitely comes with a long list of pleasures, but also – yes – the occasional pain.  After lifting too many straw bales or hauling feed buckets, our muscles and joints often send us reminders that we need to care for that most important tool: our own bodies. As yoga increasingly grows mainstream, consider attending a yoga event such as the San Diego Yoga Festival to learn, try new things and prioritize self-care. In many ways, it’s another facet of ecotourism when you’re on the road.

Growing faster than a zucchini in July, yoga studios have moved from an urban hipster thing to studios popping up across rural America, some now held in a converted barn space or a strawbale structure.  According to the 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, 37 million Americans practice yoga today – up significantly from 20 million in 2012, citing flexibility, stress relief and fitness as key benefits. Yoga is naturally paired with healthy, fresh, organic foods.

While yoga’s origins reach back to India over 5,000 years ago, its current popularity boom is happening thanks to increased accessibility, from online resources to new studios to educational events popping up across the country. We even offered yoga at our annual Soil Sisters event and regularly see it offered at farming conferences, homesteading fairs and other similar venues.

Curious about yoga and ideas on how to incorporate yoga into your homestead routines?  Check out a yoga festival in a city near you, typically a weekend gathering that’s locally organized and showcases various resources and instructors in the area, adding up to a yoga overview immersion for you to check out what might be a good, long term fit.

We did exactly that last winter while escaping the cold of our Wisconsin farmstead and traveled to California and attended the San Diego Yoga Festival. This multi-day event, which will take place March 9 through 12 in 2018, provides a diverse opportunity to try out and experience the yoga lifestyle. 

As yoga newbies, the event gave us reason to try things we may have been curious about and could attend a one-time workshop. Lisa attended a class on Ayurvedic body types and how by identifying your mind-body type you can create a healthy lifestyle supporting your unique natural state. Like yoga, Ayurveda also stems from the holistic perspective that all is connected in our bodies and each of our choices support each other. 

“The beauty of yoga is it is always individual based,” shares Jay Bhakti, facilitator of Lisa’s workshop.  “Don’t make the mistake of looking to your side in a yoga class as you will by default be comparing yourself to other people.  Remember you are exactly where you need to be at any given moment.”

And in the case of the San Diego Yoga Festival, one can experience what’s next and new on the yoga scene.  With our roots in the Midwest, it’s intriguing to dabble in the innovative yoga edge in California.  From yoga and meditation perched along the Sunset Cliffs or doing yoga with your dog on Dog Beach at Ocean Beach, there’s something for everyone. Yoga can also serve specific groups, such as military service people recovering from injuries or those affected by cancer. One can quickly appreciate all the potential yoga holds to increase holistic health in our country.

Lisa Kivirist is a writer, the author of Soil Sisters and founder of theRural Women’s Project of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service. She is also Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota. With her husband and photographer, John D. Ivanko, she has co-authoredRural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winningECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef. They also operateInn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by the wind and sun. Both are regular speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently,9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, millions of ladybugs and a 10 kW Bergey wind turbine.

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