Now in its fourth year, Namas Day is returning to Philly this April. Organized by Philly Area Yoga, an online source for yoga and wellness information, Namas Day will bring together over 350 yogis from the area's rapidly growing health-conscious, eco-friendly and socially-responsible community.The only biannual independent yoga festival in the area, Namas Day returns to the WHYY Building in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 18. Come be inspired by local Philly area yoga teachers and international yoginis alike.

Did you know? Research states that Philadelphians are 42 percent more likely to practice yoga than the general population. Mary Fetterman, owner/founder of Philly Area Yoga believes that we certainly see proof of that in our community.

"That's part of why we have been hosting Namas Day for four years now. The event fosters personal connections and each year attendees tell us that they take home wisdom that they otherwise would not have gotten had they not attended. Regardless of someone's level of practice, we welcome all people interested in coming together through yoga," she said.

Namas Day features a full day of workshops, learning, networking, and information exchange. Leaders include:

  • Faith Hunter of Embrace Yoga DC is the creator of Spiritually Fly™, a philosophy of life celebration. Faith will cleanse and awaken the body to "Move Like Honey In The Hips."
  • Corina Benner of Wake Up Yoga leads the mind, body and spirit through a yin and yang practice.
  • Michelle Synnestvedt of Dhuni Yoga provides lecture and practical application on anatomy of the shoulders and lower back to avoid misalignment.
  • Johnathan Raiss' "Physical Origami" is designed around a flow that complements a balanced lifestyle.
  • Mariel Freeman of Dig Yoga will guide practitioners to a healthy, supple spine through safe and strong backbends, building strength and flexibility.
  • Natalie Levin's "Fierceness of the Fire – Opera! April! Aries! Asana!" directs action, enthusiasm and physicality through vinyasa and voice, glitter and opera.
  • Dr. Joanna Carmichael of the Kalyana Centre shares her Ayurvedic knowledge on reducing and removing toxins through meditation, food and lifestyle choices.
  • Noah Julian leads students through an exploration of arm balances, proclaiming that there are no "tricks," only technique and patience.
  • Shawn DeClue of Maha Yoga provides a Thai massage sequence comprised of receiving and giving, an ancient healing technique from Thailand.
  • Erica Taxin Bleznak guides "Creative Transitions in The Vinyasa Practice," a vigorous and energizing approach to sequencing and modifying postures.
  • Sati Rose brings "From the Roots to the Fruits: Kundalini Yoga," mirroring the eight-fold path and chakra system in an exploration of mind, body and spirit.
  • Jennifer Fugo & Deanne Caputo facilitate a panel discussion on balancing food with yoga practice. Enjoy lively conversation and debate, and ask questions of the panel about vegan, raw, gluten-free or paleo lifestyles.
  • Dana Trixie Flynn of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in NYC closes the event with a special celebration.

This year's spring lineup will be organized into 12 different sessions, including a community gathering meditation to kick off the program. Yoga teachers registered through the Yoga Alliance will be able to claim continuing education credits for qualifying programs.

Natalie Levin, who is presenting her workshop, "Fierceness of the Fire"Fierceness of the Fire – Opera! April! Aries! Asana!," loves to combine her passion for yoga, opera and astrology. As an opera singer who sang professionally around the world, she enjoys singing live during her classes. "It is pretty groovy," she said.

Levin also usually brings glitter to class, but for this workshop she is bringing jewels instead for participants to wear. "I want to celebrate creativity, the spirit of fun, spring time and fire," she added.

When asked what she hopes people take from her class, she said that she hopes that if they are tired that they are comfortable enough in her class to just rest on the floor. "I want them to be and do exactly what they need and to feel as worthy as they are - to give themselves permission."

Erica Taxin Bleznak, a yoga instructor who also has training in foot reflexology, will be presenting "Creative Transitions in The Vinyasa Practice" at Namas Day. The session will focus on how we move posture by posture and what happens in between the postures. "We don't think as much about that," she explained. "The journey is as important in yoga as it is in life."

Her wish for those who attend her workshop is that they come out of it more conscious of their lives and the spaces in between. "I want them to realize that a lot is happening in those in between moments of life," she said.

Corina Benner of Wake Up Yoga will focus her session at Namas Day on "Yin/Vin: Harnessing Power of Stillness to Maximize Your Inherent Mobility." She will start with yin yoga (passive yoga) which will prepare the body to open up and create more flexibility and lightness before moving to more active yoga in the second half of class. During her session, she wants everyone to feel a real balance between effort and surrender. "I want them to feel both, light and energized as well as grounded and centered," she said.

At Namas Day there will also be plenty of time to network and shop the array of yoga and health related apparel and products. "The Namas Day Lounge will be a place for yogis to kick back, enjoy live music, snack and shop in between sessions," Fetterman added.

Early bird registration runs through March 9 at which time general registration will open. Check back regularly at www.namasdayphilly.com to get the low down on the big day.

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