Yoga Festival: Yogafort
in Boise, Idaho
What is Yogafort?
Yogafort is a yoga festival that is a part of the Treefort Music Fest (the first to be B Corp Certified). It’s held every year in Boise, Idaho and includes three days of yoga and movement sessions for all ages.
Held on March 22nd to the 24th of this year (2019), it coincided with a long-weekend getaway my husand and I had planned over the first weekend of spring break.
My husband and I are college/university instructors with fairly hectic schedules (oftentimes one or both of us teach at more than one school during a term). Plus, my husband has his own business as a Financial Planner. So when the schools are closed for break, that’s a golden opportunity for a travel fix and much needed R & R.
I’d wanted to visit Idaho for some time. I spent most of my life living in California, but now that I live in Oregon, Idaho is right next door. This makes it an ideal place for a quick getaway.
When we told people we were going to Boise, they always had a quizzical and somewhat perplexed look on their faces before asking, “WHY”?
I’m not sure why it was such a surprising choice. My guess is that being Oregonians, maybe Idaho is just “meh” for them. San Francisco is like that for me. While I know it’s a great place, it just doesn’t hold much allure since I grew up going there often on day trips.
But, I digress. We chose Boise because it’s nearby, we’d never been there, and we’d always heard good things about Idaho. Oh…and Alaska Airlines flies there from Portland. It’s always nice when you can add to your airline miles. 🙂
Why a yoga festival?
As for Yogafort, it was just something I found when looking for things to do in Boise the weekend of our trip. We said as much to Lex Nelson when she interviewed us for Boise Weekly (see below; click the link to see the article). My husband and I really love doing yoga, and we’d never gone to a yoga festival before, so why the heck not?
“I wish I had started yoga 40 years ago,” said Robert Hesslink, who was visiting Boise from Portland, Orgeon, with his wife Kit. “We were just looking for fun things to do,” said Kit, describing how they’d stumbled across Yogafort.
~Boise Weekly, March 23, 2019
Besides, we really enjoyed doing a couple of yoga classes at a resort in Costa Rica when we were there three months ago. Although I wasn’t super keen on getting up extra early to do it (not a morning person), I’m so glad I did. How often can you say, “After a few minutes of shavasana, I opened my eyes to see howler monkeys in the trees next to us”?
Case in point, always try something new.
Where did Yogafort take place?
Yogafort was held in downtown Boise at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (aka JUMP). This wonderful space is part of the J(ack) R Simplot Company complex (it’s an agribusiness).
It’s worth walking around even if you’re not attending a function at JUMP. For one thing, on the grounds, you can see vintage tractors and steam engines on display. I’m no farmgirl, but they were interesting to see. And, there’s even a spiral slide from the top of the parking structure! (I’m not sure if there’s access to it all the time, but it’s cool nonetheless).
There were a variety of yoga sessions Friday through Sunday from morning into the afternoon. These sessions included mindfulness meditation, mantras, dance, kirtan (chanting), and everything in between.
We only made it to two of the sessions: one on Saturday and one on Sunday plus the closing ceremony.
We had tried to go to a second session on Saturday, but it was packed and no more people could be in the room (safety regulations, ya know). Had we known, we would have made sure we got there earlier. I think they may need to have some bigger rooms next year. Hint, hint…
If I go to Yogafort again, which I’d like to do, I will try to do more sessions (i.e., planning ahead of time & getting there early!), but since it was not a focus of our trip this time, we just did what we could. And that was ok with us.
The best part of this yoga festival is that the sessions included live music with very talented artists like East Forest, Sheela Bringi + band, and Masood Ali Khan. I’d never done yoga like that before, and the harmonies and melodies definitely add a divine energy that is shared between the movement of the beat and that of the body.
It’s a wonderful thing, especially when your muscles get tired. The music encourages you to continue on, and you find you had more strength than you thought.
Picture this: You’re in a room with dozens of other people (80-100+), sitting cross-legged on your yoga mat, live music in the background. The instructor tells you to take a long, deep breath. Hold. Let it out in a sigh. Repeat.
Each audible sigh is magnified. It’s not just your breath. It’s collective — shared with everyone in the room, and it’s a little bit magical.
I usually do yoga at home with my daughter or my husband while streaming “Yoga with Adriene” on the TV. That is my preferred practice, but it’s awe-inspiring to do a session with so many others and to share that unified energy and spirit that you can only experience in a large group.
Vendors at Yogafort
There were a few vendors in the lobby area selling yoga clothes, accessories, jewelry, tea, essential oils, beauty products, etc. Some had swag to give away. It’s hard to say no to free goodies, but we politely declined trying to be mindful of the fact that we didn’t need any of those things.
We had a nice time seeing their wares and talking to the people though. Everyone was so nice.
Molly Wierman from Apothespa (they have lots of cool eco-friendly products) told us about their lakeside town, McCall, Idaho and gave us some great recommendations for restaurants there. We liked the sound of it so much that we changed our plans and stayed in McCall our last night. Stay tuned for a post about that.
Voce Fruit Tea
At the Voce Fruit Tea table we sampled some of the tea. I’m not usually a big fan of fruity teas, but their organic tea is delicious. I also really appreciated the fact that all their packaging is compostable and biodegradable. We bought a box to take home, and it must’ve been good because I only got to use one bag of it before it was gone!
Scents of Being
We also enjoyed talking to Christopher West of Scents of Being who was selling essential oils and aromatherapy amulets (I got one for me and one for my daughter). My husband had told him I suffer from chronic migraines, so he gave me some drops of oil to rub on my temples. Love that! He also had a massage table, so I took advantage of getting a WONDERFUL 15+-minute massage. I was blissed out, for sure.
This is not a sponsored post; I genuinely enjoyed talking to these people and want to give a shout out to them. It’s so nice to support local businesses, especially those who are responsible and green.
The Closing Ceremony
The Yogafort Closing Ceremony was a great way to end the fest. It was full of music, mantras, and shared energy.
I’m looking forward to going to another yoga festival again in the future, and I highly recommend it if you like yoga.
I booked my stay in Boise, Idaho at Booking.com. Take a look if you need accommodations:
Until next time…