PORTLAND – The East End Community School was transformed into a giant yoga studio Saturday and Sunday as hundreds of yoga enthusiasts descended on the Maine YogaFest.
Participants had the choice of doing yoga on a paddle board, yoga in the air, yoga on a slack line or yoga on just a plain mat during the weekend event.
The festival was organized by 30 yoga studios. More than 400 people from 10 states registered for classes at $90 for three or $125 for five. Another 100 people took part in the free yoga party. Many of the classes were sold out.
“It has been amazing,” said Justine Carlisle, an organizer and instructor at Well Heart Yoga in Cape Elizabeth.
The festival featured 40 different classes, free lectures and giveaways, such as reusable water bottles and water from the Portland Water District. About 30 vendors peddled yoga clothing, herbal drinks and supplements, and products made from recycled products. Yoga fans said the festival gave them a chance to try something new.
“This has been fantastic,” said John Vincent of Portland.
Vincent, who practices acro yoga and Vinyasa yoga, said yoga has traditionally attracted more women than men in the United States. But that is now changing. He said yoga classes are now about 30 percent male.
For Irene Greene-Murphy of Mount Desert Island, the festival was a chance to get together with her daughters, Nicole White of Old Orchard Beach and Selina Warren of Kingfield.
“We made a weekend of it,” said Greene-Murphy.
Devin McNeill, co-founder of Flowfold, a Lewiston company that makes products such as wallets and billfolds out of sailcloth remnants, said he discovered yoga practitioners are interested in his goods.
“This gives us an opportunity to talk to our customers and meet a lot of cool people,” said McNeill.
Gabe Dano, event coordinator for Yogibo bag furniture, based in Nashua, N.H., said the yoga crowd was good for business.
“Everyone has been really receptive,” said Dano.
Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at: