YogaDad at Valley Fest

Like buses, my summer festival appearances this year all came at once My recent blog on Redfest summarised how much I enjoyed teaching yoga with such a friendly bunch in the Cycle Hub. The following day, I taught Yoga For Men at Valley Fest in Chew Valley near Bristol. I had loved working with Chew Valley Wellbeing on my Yoga For Men day retreat in Chew Magna earlier in the year – as hosts of the Yoga Shala tent at Valley Fest, I was honoured to join a fab group of wellbeing practitioners in such a stunning setting.

Valley Fest is a relatively small festival that punches well above its weight. Musical highlights included ex-Glastonbury headliners Basement Jaxx and Razorlight who recently played an in-store session at our award winning record shop Longwell Records in Keynsham. Legendary DJ Norman Jay MBE brought the Good Times vibes and Tom Odell as previous winner of the Ivor Novello songwriter award closed the 3-day festival.

As I had been at Redfest on the Saturday, we (yes, the YogaFam joined me) were only able to make it on the Sunday at Valley Fest – even then we only stayed until the boys’ bedtime. So our visit was short, but all the sweeter for it. Upon arrival, the first people we bumped into were Iain from Longwell Records who was running the merch tent and Ric who hosts the Keynsham Hour on Somer Valley FM and organises Keynsham’s epic annual music festival. Such a warm welcome from friendly locals set the tone for the day.

It’s easy to get around the site, and after passing the suitably named Lake Stage with its stunning backdrop of Chew Valley Lake, we headed over to the Yoga Shala tent to see that a Reiki session was on. Over the course of the weekend, there had been plenty to tickle the tastebuds from an energising yoga flow class to awaken the day to a hugely popular tai chi taster session and a demonstration of kinesiology as a holistic therapy.

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Having the boys in tow meant that we were on the move quickly and this meant that we could check out all else that was on offer across the site. I must admit, for a family friendly festival, there didn’t seem to be a great deal of free stuff to keep the boys entertained – certainly if we had been there the whole weekend. Having said that, its a recommended kids festival, so perhaps we just missed the great stuff that was on offer.

We headed back to the Yoga Shala tent as the popular partner yoga class drew to a close. It’s great to see how creative students can be when practicing yoga poses with a partner.  Next year, i would love to try this out with the boys and see how much fun we can have.

My Yoga For Men was the final class on the weekend’s timetable. I was so grateful that a few men joined me when the party was very much in full swing across the site. Male yogis ranged from those with no experience of yoga to experienced Ashtanga students. I taught a relatively strong class with opportunities for progression in poses throughout.

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We had children, including my own join us in class. It was amazing to see Dads practicing yoga for the 1st time, and children being inspired to join them on the mat. The ethos for my Yoga For Men classes is to provide a safe space for men to practice yoga, while also promoting positive male role models that prioritise their health & wellbeing, Hopefully, my class will not only have inspired the Dads but their children to do yoga.

The hour with my students was soon over, and as we arrived into our final relaxation, the boys once again joined us trying their hardest to stay still & rest. I always love to see my students really savour these precious few minutes of relaxation at the end of a class. One student in particular fell asleep, only to wake a few minutes later. Perhaps it was the excesses of a long weekend catching up on him, or just the opportunity to soak up the many benefits of my class. Whatever it was, he was full of gratitude at the end of class.

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Having had such a blast at Valley Fest, I am already looking forward to returning next year. The UK festival scene is very crowded nowadays, with so many options on offer. I highly recommend going to Valley Fest for its music, food, drink and of course, its yoga.

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