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Improving body and emotional health through yoga

The Bermuda Yoga Festival takes place between April 3-6.

If you’ve ever wondered what kinds of benefits yoga can offer you, just ask any number of its devoted practitioners like Dawn Rochester.

As a sufferer of sickle cell anaemia, Ms Rochester was prone to experiencing harsh and continual pain while working 12-hour shifts as a pharmacist in Philadelphia.

She tried everything, until she was eventually introduced to yoga. It changed her life.

“I have more energy and zest for life,” she said. “I’m so glad that my pain and suffering brought me to this place.

“To me, yoga is more than just the physical. It’s a way to maintain a healthy mind and spirit as well.”

She also saw her body begin to change. In addition to losing inches, she began to lengthen and tone in other areas and loves her new figure.

Ms Rochester, who is frequently on Island visiting family, plans to join scores of other people participating in the first Bermuda Yoga Festival, taking place from April 3 to 6.

The event will offer a combination of beginners’ yoga classes, as well as advanced workshops with 11 renowned teachers from America.

If that’s not enough, there will be chant musicians like Bermuda Kirtan Band taking part in the weekend event, ‘wisdom talks’ and local dance sessions that aim to bring new meaning to the word ‘yoga’ for the Island.

International guests will include Elena Brower, Faith Hunter, Kia Miller, Beryl Bender Birch, Swami Asokananda and others.

While local presenters who have signed up to participate in the event are: Sifu Dr Larry Trott, Christina Frith, Shanell Vaughn and Bermuda Kirtan Band.

The overall goal of the festival is to encourage people in Bermuda to move their bodies more — firstly to help improve self confidence, but also to manage stress.

A spokeswoman for the event said: “We could all use a confidence boost from time to time, especially when stress levels are high, pressure at work (or having no work) gets us down.

“It is well documented that the emotional state is directly connected to the physical state.

“Any yoga enthusiast is living proof that body movement impacts on emotional health, with the ability to beat depression, build confidence, incite joy and be more vibrant and energetic.”

Yoga involves a sequence of stretching and strengthening exercises, which help with blood flow, to regulate blood pressure and improve thyroid health.

It’s also believed to be ideal for people who are stiff and inflexible, as it eases the body back to its natural state.

Passes for the Bermuda Yoga Festival are currently on sale at www.ptix.bm. They can also be bought for a single day pass so that you can get a “quick dip” taster of three sessions; while a full festival pass will cost $499.

The event is sponsored by Bermuda Tourism Authority, along with primary partner Fairmont Southampton.

For information on special room rates available visit www.bermudayogafestival.com or e-mail: bdayogafest@gmail.com.