A Yogathon Brings Bliss and Beyond in the Pouring Rain

Over a thousand people gathered at UBC Thunderbird Stadium for 108 minutes of yoga on Saturday to raise money for children with HIV/AIDS.

The Yogathon attracted yogis at all levels. Their shared goal was to collect funds to send children impacted by HIV/AIDS to Camp Moomba. Established in 1997, Camp Moomba is a specialized summer camp program for kids age 6—17 who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Despite the constant rain, 400 plus yogis practiced together and nearly 1,000 people were on hand at the event, which was Canada’s largest gathering of yoga instructors, yoga students and people in the health and wellness’ industry, the events organizers said.

The event included a Bliss Fest Marketplace and Food Fair, a showcase of local consumer products, services and delicacies, and a fashion show.

Yogathon was kicked off with a dose of Laughter Yoga, which served to break the ice and whet yogic appetites despite the splashed mats.

When Bernie Clark, a Yin Yoga instructor, asked everyone to take a seat on their mats people looked around at each other for a little reassurance that they weren’t the only ones feeling their yoga butts drenched in cold water. Moans, groans and giggles erupted when Clark asked the yogis to lie on their bellies in seal pose.

That was the point of no return. “Now that you’re all wet, the rest of this will be easy,” promised Clark.

About half way through the 108 minutes, the energy of the crowd was starting to drop, however, as rain drenched bodies slipping and sliding on their mats.

It all started to change when Eoin Finn, Vancouver’s ‘Blissologist’, brought out a yoga sequence transforming the yogis into surfers. Finn asked the participants to imagine their yoga mats as a surf boards. Then he led the audience through various poses to stretch out tight hips and shoulders.

The crowd went from lying on their stomachs paddling on ‘surf boards’ to catching imaginary waves. Finn got everyone laughing and cheering and forgetting about the fact that they were soaked to the bone in a sea of soggy downward facing dogs.
Because, hey, when you live in the rainforest, you come to expect a little rain.

Photo above by Erica Gehrke
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