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This Is Northern New South Wales

All zenned out in Byron Bay

KirraPendergast-5053 KirraPendergast-4954 KirraPendergast-5086While people swarmed the beaches to bask in Saturday’s glorious weather, 500 yogis descended upon the Byron Bay primary school to join in the most chilled out event in town. The Byron Bay Yoga Centre’s Evolve Yoga Festival brought together an eclectic mix of yoga styles for all sorts of curious yogis to experiment with.

Festival goers weren’t all about the zen, some came for the “good looking instructors with breathtaking eyes,” while others came from around the world to experience everything from aerial yoga, chocolate yoga, and the highly intense Persian yoga influenced by ancient warrior training. The team from the Byron Bay Yoga Centre created an atmosphere that was so relaxed and inclusive of everyone that attended from experienced yogis to inquisitive beginners.

Jess Humphries from Evolve said this year’s festival has been awesome. “It’s nice to see it evolving,” she said. “Evolve is a bit quieter and more interactive than other yoga festivals, which tend to be more exclusive. We try to create a festival that is more accessible for people at all levels and include presenters that are more approachable than other yoga festivals were you will find celebrity teachers.”

The festival had a community feel with a marketplace, food stalls and live music to entertain people while they relaxed in the shade between sessions. Susan Plesser from Divine Goddess said, “This year’s festival has been splendid. I have been operating at the festival since it began, it’s great to meet yogis from around the world. It’s been a good day.”

The festival had sessions for people to join in and others to hear from presenters about different styles of yoga they teach. Bangalow yogi, Susan Garrand said, “I have been practicing yoga for about 30 years and the festival is a great opportunity to explore different styles.”

Those who made it early enough were lucky to catch the session from locals Zen Aerial who had festivalgoers hanging upside down in silk hammocks. “Hanging upside down is good for detoxification, wrinkles and it’s great for the back”, they said.

Kashi Azad’s ancient style of Persian yoga had everyone intrigued and those brave enough to take the class were in for a physical workout more akin to high intensity aerobics then a blissed out yoga session. “Wow it’s intense,” said Adrian Mornaila, citizen of the world, after participating in the Kashi’s class. “I’m used to more fluid yoga rather than push-ups. It’s more like my previous life, when I was into martial arts.”

“I really dig it”, said Sean Fahey.

Going by the smiles at Evolve I sense the festival had a little zen for everyone.

Writer: Emma Kirk
Photographer: Kirra Pendergast

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