Asheville Yoga Festival 2018

I can definitely say that I took out July with a bang. I think I had to though because I’m in deep denial that it’s already August. I could not tell you where the year has gone and I usually start to panic that maybe I haven’t done enough throughout the year.

Well, not only did I wrap up July by finishing Whole30, but I also attended the Asheville Yoga Festival. AYF may sound a little familiar since I attended last year. I did things the right way this year though. I learned so much last year that I seriously changed things up this time around, which was nice because I was there for a little bit longer this go around. What did I do differently?

Changed the length of stay

Last year I was at the festival for Saturday and Sunday only. This isn’t a bad idea, but it felt like as soon as I was there, I was also leaving. Last year there were four classes on Saturday and three on Sunday. This year they changed things up a bit though and offered three classes each day so that you could have a little bit more time getting from point a to point b. They also limited the amount of the city in which classes were offered so that you weren’t using a full half an hour just trying to get somewhere. I decided to go for the three day pass this year, too. So I drove to Asheville after work on Thursday and headed back after classes on Sunday.

Strategically picked classes

Last year, it was my first time trying something like this. Don’t get me wrong, I can run for hours, but I’d actually never tried to do more than an hour of yoga at a time. When signing up last year, I just decided what was interesting and picked those classes. Don’t get me wrong, you can do a plethora of things at AYF. From photography classes to speakers and hiking – you can do more than just yoga. After two days of a lot of very intense yoga classes in year one, I promised myself that I would really change things up in year two. I told myself I’d take my camera and try photography or do something less intense.

In a way – I did. What didn’t I do? I didn’t stray from yoga. 100% of my classes were yoga or meditation. What I did do though: well, I actually scheduled my classes with my body in mind. My first day of classes (Friday) I went all in on powerful yoga classes. Everything from long and intense vinyasas to handstands 101. I didn’t give my body a break. I even took back to back classes and simply made sure I had enough water and larabars. I loved it. Naturally though, on Saturday I was sore. Saturday I’d planned to be half intense and half slow. I’m so glad I had the forethought to do that because I was able to heat up my body in the morning (aka struggle through) and then really give my body love in the second half. I took such a deep and slow stretch class in the afternoon that I actually fell asleep in each pose I did. Much needed and so nice. Sunday I took only restorative classes. I wasn’t sure how my body would react and I wanted to make sure I didn’t spend the entire next week sore – unlike my strategy the year before.

Made sure I had enough food

Last year I thought I could simply pop in somewhere and grab a sandwich while heading to my next class so I didn’t really have any back up ideas. I was so wrong. I forgot that Asheville has a lot of sit down places and the scheduling didn’t really allow for grab and go meals. Instead I was able to load up on fruit from the free breakfast at the hotel and just continue eating larabars. At the end of the day I was so hungry that I binged – and not only did my body not like it, but it didn’t make me feel good either considering I’d just finished whole30.

This go around – Whole Foods came in clutch. I ultimately picked up a salad and a rotisserie chicken and ate that along with some salami all weekend. Of course I still ate my larabars as needed during the yoga sessions, but I actually wasn’t starving. Weirdly, I also think it really helped that I was still doing whole30. I didn’t have a ton of cravings and I basically knew I couldn’t just roam throughout Asheville’s amazing food scene.

Stayed closer to downtown, but ventured

This year I stayed in the heart of downtown – at the AC Marriott. This was an amazing spot for the festival. Not only was I so close to everything, but I really liked the space. It was really expensive though considering I ended up staying for three nights. I’d stayed at a hotel the year before on the outskirts of downtown – still walkable, but not in the middle of things. That hotel wasn’t the cheapest this year and basically was the same price as the AC, so I just went for it. Since I was travelling alone, I opted not to stay in an affordable AirBnB outside of downtown. It helped that the weather was absolutely perfect. I spent Saturday evening driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. I think the longer time frame really made it easier to feel like I had enough time to venture. The year before I was so exhausted that I did yoga and slept. Nothing else seemed to fit.

Overall, I had an amazing time. I also really needed it – both mentally and physically. I’m really glad I went and even more excited that both of my experiences were vastly different. We’ll see what happens next year…

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