A curious path to a yoga festival

Contributing writerMay 16, 2014 

Yoga teacher Kristen Rubis will lead a class on yoga set to disco music from 5:30-6 p.m. Saturday at a yoga festival at the Olympia Ballroom.


If it seems strange that it took Olympia this long to have a yoga festival, that’s not the unlikeliest aspect of Saturday’s festival.

The really odd part is that the festival was the brainchild of Daniel Landin, who doesn’t really do yoga.

“I’m not currently a total yoga enthusiast,” said Landin, who produces shows at The Olympia Ballroom. “I haven’t done a yoga class in a little while, but I’m definitely planning to participate in this.”

How, then, did Landin become the founder of the Olympia Yoga Festival?

It all started when the ballroom floor was refinished. The gleaming expanse of wood was his inspiration.

“I was brainstorming what we could do in here that would be awesome,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is bigger than any yoga studio in town. We could do a big yoga event.’ ”

What Landin will contribute to the festival, a benefit for Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, is music. He’ll be playing 12-string guitar for one of the classes.

“Music is my yoga, kind of,” said Landin, the leader of Olympia’s klezmer band, Erev Rav.

Nearly all of the festival’s classes will include live music, with performers including festival co-organizer — and yoga teacher — Kristen Rubis on singing bowls and Richard Lopez on alto flute.

The event also includes a free kirtan class with Jhai Bhav and free laughter yoga and disco yoga classes.

Disco yoga?

It’s exactly what it sounds like, said Rubis, who led disco yoga on New Year’s Eve. “It was a really fun experience. There were times I was giggling, like, ‘It’s working. We’re really doing yoga to disco music.’”

The festival wraps up with a concert by mystical soul-roots singer-songwriter Sara Tone, formerly of Olympia. She’ll play with a full band, including Max Ribner of Nahko and Medicine for the People. Opening is Rag Dharma, led by sitar player Steph Donchey of Olympia.

So there’s reason to attend, even if you’d rather not spend the day on the mat.

“It’s going to encourage me to participate,” Landin said. “I hope other people will consider that, too, since it’s a benefit. Of course, we want people to get a full-day pass and experience the whole thing, but people can also just drop in and do one class.”

Olympia Yoga Festival

What: Olympia’s first yoga festival features a day of yoga with live music, plus a kirtan and an evening concert.

Where: Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way SW, Olympia

Tickets: $65-$100 for a full-day pass; $10 per class; free for the kirtan, laughter yoga and disco yoga

Of note: The festival is a benefit for Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, which sends faculty and students from The Evergreen State College into juvenile correctional centers to teach, mentor and learn alongside those who live there. gateways.evergreen.edu

More information: olympia ballroom.com or brownpaper tickets.com/event/670619


9-9:45 a.m. Gentle hatha yoga with Steve Saunders; music by Daniel Landin on 12-string guitar

10-10:45 a.m. Hot yoga with Margot Losa; music by Kristen Rubis on singing bowls

11-11:45 a.m. Kundalini yoga with Jeanine Toth; music by harpist Diane Sonntag

Noon-1 p.m. Kirtan with Jhai Bhav

1:15-1:45 p.m. Lee Thornhill of Gateways will speak.

2-2:45 p.m. Moderate hatha flow with Lisa Cosmillo; music by Richard Lopez on alto flute

3-3:45 p.m. Vinyasa yoga with Kristi Lyons; music by guitarist Mike Mercker

4-4:45 p.m. Healing therapeutic yoga with Maureen Oar; music by Rubis on singing bowls

5-5:30 p.m. Laughter yoga with Miss Kate

5:30-6 p.m. Disco yoga with Rubis

8 p.m. Concert with Sara Tone and Rag Dharma

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