The Pavilion at Reston Town Center filled with yogis on Sunday, June 12 for the eighth Love Your Body Yoga Festival.
Beloved Yoga’s Maryam Ovissi, the event’s organizer, remembered the first year of the festival and how it was confined to just the Pavilion. “It’s amazing to see how it’s grown down the street,” she said. “Every year it grows a little bit and it works perfectly.”
The event heralds the start of the Virginia Yoga Week, starting June 12 until June 19, when yoga studios and teachers throughout the state will offer discounted or free classes.
Ovissi said that yoga can be intimidating for some, “In a yoga magazine, we’ve put images of people who are doing strange poses, and we have gotten away [from the idea] that yoga is not really about the external,” she said.
“It’s not about the form, it’s an inner process,” said Ovissi.
The festival’s emphasis is on self-care and self-love, said Ovissi. “If we want to see things change, we have to actually take care of the vehicle, that being that is part of the change ... So, love your body is about helping you take care of yourself so we can help take care of this world.”
And to help take care of the world, donations to the Beloved Yoga Mind Body Fund will go to Reston-based nonprofit Cornerstones.
Thousands converged at Reston Town center to celebrate yoga and the benefits it has brought to their lives.
Tanya Romeyn, of Reston, said that yoga enables her to disconnect for an hour. “I do the work out. I do it for the quiet, peace of mind.”
For Jeannette Yagoda, of Alexandria, yoga changed her life. She has fibromyalgia and that keeps her up. After a year of yoga upon the recommendation of her doctor, “I feel so much better.”
Dorothy McDonald, of Leesburg, echoes the restorative effects of yoga. “As I’m aging and my body is getting less resilient, I find that yoga helps that,” said McDonald.
Yoga helped Michele Trufant, of Aldie, Virginia, one of the instructors in the festival, to be a more patient and understanding person. It helps keep her body and mind open, which translates into everything she does. “Everything you do on the mat, you can take in everything you do,” said Trufant.
Ovissi does not think that yoga is something that everyone has to do but there are parts of yoga that everyone can benefit from -- “whether it’s just learning the breath work, learning to quiet the mind, learning the postures, the most important is just try,” she said.
But Maddy O’Connor, of Centreville, who has been practicing yoga for five years, just loves it. “It makes me happy and less angry.”