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Newtown Yoga Festival Brings Poses And Positivity



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The sixth annual Newtown Yoga Festival made its ‘sun salutations’ bright and early, opening registration at 8:30 am on Saturday, August 25, at the NYA Sports and Fitness Center, 4 Primrose Street.

The day-long event, hosted by the Avielle Foundation, brought yoga enthusiasts from all over the area to come out and enjoy group classes, demonstrations, shopping, raffles, food, and entertainment for all ages.

Bessel van der Kolk, MD, started off the festival with opening remarks, and the two morning community classes included headliners Ray Crist and Kathryn Templeton.

Dr van der Kolk was also featured at a sold out pre-festival event the previous evening at the Edmond Town Hall Theatre, according to the foundation.

Tao Porchon-Lynch followed in the afternoon with a special Dharma Talk in the turf field of the NYA.

When she was 93, Ms Porchon-Lynch was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest yoga teacher. Having just celebrated her 100th birthday August 13, she began her session telling stories of the many life lessons she has learned through the years.

After originally growing up in India, Porchon-Lynch spent much of her lifetime traveling all over the world. She spoke to the audience at the Newtown Yoga Festival of the milestones in her life, like walking with Gandhi for peace and climbing Machu Picchu, as well as personal passions of hers like high heels and wine — both of which she had with her on stage.

Despite breaking her hip, Ms Porchon-Lynch says she still goes out each day and accomplishes what she wants to do with her life, including teaching yoga every day.

“Don’t procrastinate,” she advised. “Start each morning and know there is nothing you cannot do… nothing is impossible.”

Ms Porchon-Lynch also answered questions from the audience, the first of which came from a woman in the crowd who asked if Ms Porchon-Lynch had any children. She replied, “You are all my children. You teach me every day.”

Throughout her talk, she humbly apologized to the audience, repeatedly saying, “I hope I am not boring you.”

Kim Tupper of Seymore visited the Newtown Yoga Festival for the first time this year and told The Newtown Bee that she had been specifically looking forward to attending Ms Porchon-Lynch’s talk.

“I figured she would know a lot because she’s done a lot,” Ms Tupper said. “She’s amazing; she’s absolutely amazing.”

Ms Tupper said she enjoyed Ms Porchon-Lynch’s talk, especially her insight on the importance of not having a negative mindset and to instead “think positively.”

After Ms Porchon-Lynch thanked everyone for taking the time to listen to her, she met with Newtown Yoga Festival attendees one-on-one by the NYA’s water fountain in the courtyard. She spent more than an hour talking with people, holding their hands, and signing copies of her books.

The last community class of the day was led by David Schouela of The Trauma Center in Brookline, Mass., who specializes in the group’s trauma sensitive yoga.

He greeted all those attending and started off by saying that, due to the time of day his session was taking place (right after lunch), he would not be conducting a vigorous class.

“How much of a movement you make is your choice,” Mr Schouela said, advising they could do micro-movements or exaggerated movements depending on what they were comfortable with.

“I want to encourage you to take care of yourself — this is your practice; this is your body. I’m just here facilitating,” he said. “If there’s anything that I am leading you into that doesn’t feel right for your body, feel free to modify, to skip, to do something else. The practice of yoga is the listening of the still, small voice within.”

Tao Porchon-Lynch, who turned 100 years old earlier this month, returned to the Newtown Yoga Festival for her second consecutive year and gave a special Dharma talk. She also answered audience questions and held a meet-and-greet in the NYA courtyard afterwards. —Bee Photos, Silber
David Schouela of The Trauma Center in Brookline, Mass., leads an afternoon community class on the turf field of the NYA on August 25.
Artist Lauren Flanagan draws henna on Newtown Yoga Festival attendee Cara Watson in the courtyard of the NYA Sports and Fitness Center. Lauren Flanagan Art was a vendor at the festival and specializes in henna, floral design, graphic design, and fine art.
Pictured from left are Newtown Yoga Festival members Robyn Mortiboys, Karen Pierce, Kathleen Snyder, and Renee Kennedy helping out at the raffle table in the courtyard of the NYA on August 25.
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