On October 19, the Philadelphia-area yoga community will descend upon West Chester for the Namas Day yoga festival. As a WCU alumna, I’m excited that this fall’s event will be held at the university’s Sykes Union and be led by some of WC’s finest instructors: Colleen DeVirgiliis of Seva Power Yoga, Prana Flow® instructor Deanne Caputo and Alison Donley, director of West Chester University’s student yoga curriculum.
As a member of the outreach committee for Namas Day, our team has been working with eco- and health-conscious businesses locally and nationally to be part of this growing event coordinated by Philly Area Yoga, an online resource that equally represents yoga studios and teachers throughout the region. Namas Day is a time of community, camaraderie and learning, and is likely one of the reasons why Forbes magazine named Philadelphia one of the top three yoga friendly cities in the US. And that’s much needed and appreciated when our city of brotherly love has taken numerous knocks as being one of the country’s least healthiest cities.
When I signed up as a volunteer for Namas Day, I knew I could bring some of my professional event experience to the table, and I wanted to share my passion of inspiring others to feel good about themselves through healthy and active living. When it comes to yoga, I often get the tentative “I’m not flexible” retort about trying a practice. Well guess what, flexible is a state of mind and body, and no matter how inflexible one is, yoga will definitely cause a “shift” to occur. Many times, this shift is not only in the form of increased flexibility, but pensive mindfulness and greater awareness of normal everyday experiences, such as the quality of interactions with others or the taste of food we’re putting into our mouths. The curiosity continues to grow, connections increase, a sense of peace creeps into our lives, and I consider that a good sign for the health of our community.
While early bird registration has passed for Namas Day, half day passes are still available. Even if you do possess an inflexible body, yoga isn’t all about twisting yourself into a pretzel. Just the contrary – it’s about developing a strong sense of self-awareness and being kind to yourself. Namas Day presents a well-rounded opportunity to go beyond the physical application and to learn philosophy and live with a positive attitude as well as engage in a meditative and mindfulness practice.
These latter two practices – meditation and mindfulness – are key for people who suffer from stress (who doesn’t?), various trauma and behavioral issues. And that’s why Namas Day is supporting the Transformation Yoga Project, a local non-profit outreach program teaching yoga and mindfulness as a tool for personal change in the lives of people within drug and alcohol rehabilitation institutions, the criminal justice system, and community transitional centers.
Slightly curious? Stop by Sykes Union between 8am-5pm on Sunday the 19th to catch a blissful buzz of good vibes.