Heartland Yoga Festival recap
On June 22-24 I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Heartland Yoga Festival in Unity Village, Missouri.
It was a yoga-filled weekend and I loved learning from and connecting with the beautiful Kansas City yoga community. The weather was lovely, the class offerings were diverse and the people were incredibly kind.
Here's a recap of my time at the festival. Some photos were taken by Yogafolio, as indicated by their captions.
My friend Amie was my omie all weekend. We showed up early on Friday and walked around the "Vendor Village" and admired all the artwork, sipped on kombucha and had oracle card readings.
Side note: In my reading the medium said she saw me teaching children who are not my own. I've never been drawn to teaching children ... truth be told I’m not a “kid person” ... so we shall see what the future holds!
Then it was off to the first community yoga session, which was led by Gina Caputo. Gina is the Founder and Director of the Colorado School of Yoga, but she has yoga roots in Kansas City. She has a playfulness in her teaching that made us all laugh, and her grounding earth-themed flow was strong yet approachable.
Saturday morning had an early start with a 7a.m. hike. The Unity Village campus is gorgeous, and this little hiking trail was lovely. We hiked a short distance to a cave, did a little group meditation and headed back for all the yoga.
The second community yoga session was led by Sedona Alvarez, a Kansas City artist and yoga teacher. Her water-themed flow was a nice way to get our blood flowing and energize for the full day ahead.
Then it was time to start breakout sessions. The first session we chose was Prana-Powered Partner Yoga with Robin Fortin-Cline. We had a lot of fun with this one. I didn't know what to expect but it was exactly what I was hoping for — essentially a class where you have an amazing hands-on assist in every pose.
I posted a video of the session on my Instagram TV if you want to check it out.
After some lunch we headed back outside for another community yoga session. This time it was a fire theme (are you getting the overall theme here?) with Shanell Petersen-Reffell, the founder of Kansas City's Nella Yoga. I expected a sweaty flow with lots of core work, and was relieved (as were others) when she announced that it wouldn't be like that at all. I think we were all pretty tired. :)
Then we headed to our next breakout session: "Connection" with my friend Rachel Parker. We journaled, talked chakras and did a chakra-balancing flow. I came out of that class with a little better understanding of myself.
Guess what came next? That's right, more yoga!
Another breakout session. We chose "MMM: Mantra, Meditation and MUSIC!" with Susan Harp from Liberty, MO. This was way out of my comfort zone so I'm glad we did it. We chanted and did a flow unlike any I've ever done. Susan played the harmonium and the singing bowl and she let us stay after to give it a go. I have a little metal singing bowl but this one really sings!
There was an evening community yoga session but I had to leave early to get back to the little one. And truth be told, I was feeling pretty tired at that point anyway. I was bummed to miss Jesse Shroyer's class though, so I'll have to catch one soon! I've been stalking her on the 'gram for a while and was looking forward to meeting her in the flesh. Jesse, if you're reading this, I hope you're not spooked. :)
Sunday morning we headed to a community class led by Lauren Leduc (one of the event founders). It was an Ether-themed class that was slow, mindful and just what we needed. It blended right into a community mandala making activity followed by a nice long meditation. It was a wonderful experience and I left feeling incredibly refreshed.
Somehow we transitioned to our last breakout session: Acroyoga. And by somehow I mean we got a cup of coffee first.
It was fun to play!
That was our last breakout session. There was another community yoga session but we were both eager to get home to our babies. We did manage to get an alumni photo from our yoga teacher training class, as well as a tarot reading from Stephanie, before we hit the road.
I'm so happy to see a yoga event like this in Kansas City, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to participate. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen! The love and passion you poured into it really showed and made the weekend memorable and meaningful. I look forward to next year!