For “the love of yoga”

Registration open for first MoYo, Montevallo Yoga Festival, in May

Story by Emily Sparacino

Photographs by Dawn Harrison

What do you get when you mix Montevallo and yoga?

MoYo, of course.

On Saturday, May 20, the first-ever Montevallo Yoga Festival, nicknamed MoYo, will commence on the University of Montevallo campus.

The one-day indoor and outdoor festival will be held in many areas of the campus, including the dance studio, Main Quad, Wills Quad, Myrick Hall and the Student Activity Center. It will also include a vendor expo, a Concert on the Green and door prizes for attendees.

“MoYo will be the first of its kind in Alabama,” said Diane Landers, MoYo creator and University of Montevallo adjunct faculty member in kinesiology. “The Birmingham metro area has a thriving yoga community, and we believe the MoYo Festival will add value to those already interested in yoga as well as introduce the practice of yoga and healthy living to those that have been curious but didn’t know where or how to start. The University of Montevallo is a perfect setting for the festival because of its serene park-like campus and beautiful historic buildings.”

Landers said inspiration for MoYo came from “the love of yoga, in all its manifestations, and the belief that everyone should know, even if it’s a little bit, something about it.”

“The tools that yoga provides are needed by everyone,” Landers said. “We started young with our free teen and family summer yoga camps offered through the university. With several years’ experience and encouraged by fellow teachers, neighbors, friends – folks who feel as strongly as we do that everybody should be doing yoga – we took the next step.”

Sharing the UM campus and community with visitors, and cultivating and appreciating an already impressive group of studios and teachers in the metro area, were further motivation to create MoYo, according to Landers.

“Hosting a yoga and wellness festival at the University of Montevallo just makes sense,” said Kelli Holmes, director for the Office of Partnerships and Outreach. “The beauty of our historic buildings and ‘park like’ campus embodies the serenity needed to practice the art of yoga.”

The Office of Partnerships and Outreach helping the MoYo team, which consists of one UM faculty member and two UM alumni, coordinate the event.

Yoga, a 5,000-year-old discipline derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “union,” is about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing techniques, yoga poses and meditation, Landers said.

“Many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch and breathe in the most complex ways, (but) these are only the superficial aspects,” she said. “Through physical, mental and emotional discipline, yoga allows an individual to explore personal insight, helping to create a healthy mind, body and soul. The practice of yoga offers a variety of health benefits, including: increased flexibility and balance, increased strength and energy, better sleep, a boost in metabolism, can reduce stress and anxiety, aids in improving memory, and it helps to improve digestion, and those are only some of the benefits.”

Attendees need to bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothes that allow for movement, along with blankets or folding chairs for the concert.

Five vendors have been confirmed, but organizers anticipate a total of 15-20 vendors to participate.

The schedule is as follows: meditation on the green, 8-8:20 a.m.; breakfast and registration, 6:30-8 a.m.; classes, 8:30-9:15 a.m.; classes, 9:30-10:45 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; classes, 12:30-1:45 p.m.; classes, 2-3:15 p.m.; classes, 3:30-4:45 p.m.; dinner, 5-6:30 p.m.; and concert on the green, 7-9 p.m.

“MoYo is designed to attract those interested in yoga, nature, healthy living, wellness, fitness, natural healing, meditation and mind and body connections,” Landers said. “By offering a little bit of something for everyone: all levels, from the very experienced to the curious, this event proves to be welcoming to all.”

Trained instructors will guide beginners on correct posture, meditation techniques, healthy lifestyle tips and more. In addition, more advanced participants will enjoy yoga sequences that work the body from every angle and challenge them to test their limits in exhilarating advanced poses, Landers said.

Each mealtime during the event will offer healthy food combinations that participants can model at home.

Event tickets for meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), a T-shirt and the concert are $60 each. Event tickets for just the T-shirt and concert (no meals included) are $40 each.

An add-on option is a room in an on-campus residence hall on the night of Friday, May 19, for $20. Limited rooms are available.

“It’s important to mention the value in the cost of this festival,” Landers said. “A one-hour yoga session at a studio can range from $15-$25. MoYo Festival participants will be able to enjoy five sessions (yoga, Tai Chi, wellness, meditation, etc.) for the same price as taking two sessions at a studio.”

Those interested in participating can register at Montevallo.edu/partnerships until May 1.

Sponsorship opportunities of varying levels are available for companies interested in promoting their business to a gathering of people from all over the area.

For $1,500, a presenting sponsor will have a vendor booth, vendor logo on printed materials, website, event signage and a T-shirt, along with 10 armbands.

For $1,000, a concert sponsor will have a vendor booth, logo on printed materials, concert event signage and a website, along with seven armbands.

For $500, a food sponsor will have a vendor booth, vendor logo on printed materials, a website, event signage in the cafeteria and five armbands.

For $100, a contributing sponsor will have a vendor booth (one table and two chairs), name on printed material and two armbands.

For $50, a vendor sponsor will have a vendor booth (one table and two chairs), meals and one armband.

For more information, visit the Montevallo Yoga Festival pages on Facebook and Instagram, or contact the Office of Partnerships and Outreach at (205) 665-6077 or partnerships@montevallo.edu.

“Montevallo Yoga Festival is more than yoga,” Landers said. “We want to celebrate and congratulate all those who wish to live a more healthy life and to provide them those tools. The support of the UM Office of Partnerships and Outreach is allowing those ideas to come to life.”