Yoga means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. From health and wellness to athletic conditioning, mindfulness, breathwork, and flexibility of the body and mind, people practice it for lots of reasons. Maui is an island with a lot of yoga, with an array of talented instructors and studios in pretty much every town that feature many different flavors and styles. This year, for the third time, yoga enthusiasts as well as those with an interest will get the chance to congregate at the Maui Yoga Festival to share practice and space in honor of this multi-faced ancient practice.
This weekend, on January 5 and 6 at the Royal Lahaina Resort, Maui yogis and wellness enthusiasts will get a chance to kick off the new year with a two-day yoga festival. Whether you’re a total beginner or a hardcore yogi, the third annual Maui Yoga Festival will have something for all levels.
Over fifty unique classes will be taught throughout the two days in five learning zones: three indoor ballrooms and two ocean-front lawns. Local instructors will be featured along with off-island instructors, all teaching in a variety of styles from Vinyasa to Hatha, Ashtanga, Buti, AcroYoga, Kundalini, and beyond.
In addition to all the yoga, festival-goers will get a chance to mix it up a little with sound healing, Hawaiian chanting, lei making, hoop workshops, breathing and pranayama classes, and more. There will also be vendors and food trucks. With six sessions each day, there will be plenty of opportunities for sampling – though with all the options, the most difficult part of the event might be choosing which classes to go to.
I spoke with Mary Bailey, who is organizing the event for the third year, amidst the flurry of activity planning such an event entails. “The festival has grown!” Bailey told me. “The last two years, it was held at the Makawao Union Church as a one-day event. This is the first time I’ve hosted it at an oceanfront resort, and it’s actually two full days instead of one.”
“There are 50 yoga instructors, and yoga classes for all skill levels. There are also Hawaiian chanting classes, there’s breathing and pranayama workshops, there’s even a hula-hooping class. There’s an ayurvedic lecture. A lot of health and wellness, in different modalities. There are literally five classes going on at the same time throughout the day,” said Bailey.
“Another thing that’s new is it’s happening simultaneously to the Maui Cannabis Conference, and so all tickets and any attendees that have a ticket for the Yoga Maui Festival have complimentary entrance to the Maui Cannabis Conference, where there are a lot of educational lectures.” Festival ticket holders will be able to hop from a yoga class to a lecture to a lei-making workshop and back to a yoga class.
Besides all the yoga and wellness workshops, event-goers will also have opportunity to mingle and party. “I’m really excited for the Elevated After Party,” said Bailey. The event that will bridge the two events on Saturday night from 6-9pm. The indoor-outdoor event will feature a “fashion show with local swimwear designers, a firedance performance, lots of entertainment: a live vocalist, three DJs; it should be a really fun time!” The event will give visitors a chance to mingle with residents, and bring the festival and the conference together. “It’s a great way to meet and greet, and then they get to spend Sunday at the event together, too.”
“We’ll have five food trucks parked outside; we’re really excited. Vegan, ramen, local options, acai bowl, kombucha – it’s going to be really fun to have that food truck element to things.”
There will also be almost twenty local vendors selling art, jewelry, bikinis, and “all kinds of locally made things,” said Bailey.
The event is planned for those who have varying degrees of comfort with yoga. “Just try,” encouraged Bailey. “There are so many class options. Get creative and try something you haven’t tried before. There are so many classes for different skill levels, there is something for everyone.”
Maui Yoga Festival
Royal Lahaina Resort
2780 Keka‘a Dr.
Sat-Sun., Jan. 5-6 (schedule online)
$80/day (pre-sale online)
Photos by Cadencia Photography