More than 400 people gathered last Saturday at Louisiana Yoga and Paddle for the first ever Peace Love Art Yoga (PLAY) Festival.
The owner of Louisiana Yoga and Paddle, Courtney Thibault, said the PLAY festival was organized to provide a free day of yoga for the community and to allow people interested in yoga to learn more about it.
“There were 16 different yoga teachers that came together to teach at the PLAY festival, and there were a lot more people behind the scenes as well as musicians and vendors,” she said.
Different segments on yoga, meditation and nutrition were organized throughout the day, one of which was taught by Hope Anderson, a senior nutrition and dietetics major.
“I did a segment called ‘Eating to Nourish’ where I talked about eating healthy and some eating myths along with the paleo diet,” she said. “I got together some recipes and did a demo on them during the workshop. These recipes will help fuel their yoga workouts or active lifestyles in general.”
Another segment featured was barre exercise class, which incorporated a bar like that used in ballet into traditional yoga.
Senior biology major Julianne Tippen said trying a barre class was her main reason for going to the festival.
“It was fun, but really hard,” she said. “It was similar to ballet classes I have taken before. It’s a lot of movement like plie and squats and little movements that you do in ballet classes.”
The teacher of the barre class, Maurie Loftlin, is opening her own barre studio in Monroe where Tippen said she plans to continue taking classes.
Mark Meeks, an accountant from Shreveport, said he found out about the festival through his daughter, Emma, who is a student at Louisiana Tech and Louisiana Yoga and Paddle.
“It was good to see something new,” he said, “I knew there would be several things I had never done.”
Meeks said he was excited to try the aerial yoga class, which involves doing basic yoga moves while airborne.
“After first watching the demonstration I wasn’t sure about it, but once I got up it was very effortless,” he said. “That was the highlight of the day for me.”
The facility is beautiful and unique, Meeks said of Louisiana Yoga and Paddle.
“The way they’ve taken the farm and turned it into what it is, that’s very forward and out of the box thinking,” he said. “They’ve taken the old horse barn and turned it into a yoga studio, and set up paddle boarding in the back. I’ll definitely be going back with Emma.”
One vendor, Bonnie Ferguson, a 2012 Tech alumna and owner of Pastry Moon located in downtown Ruston, said she was thrilled to showcase her products.
Ferguson said she has been making natural soaps for five years now and they were a hit at the festival.
“It was good to be around a group of people with the same mentality,” she said. “They all had an appreciation for art and nature and that’s really what it’s all about.”
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