A balanced good time

KEEPING CALM: Festivalgoers take part in an outdoor yoga class at the LEAF festival. Photo courtesy of LEAF
KEEPING CALM: Festivalgoers take part in an outdoor yoga class at the LEAF festival. Photo courtesy of LEAF

Healing arts offer ways to decompress at LEAF

LEAF ticket holders may come for the music, but the healing-arts lineup has grown more and more robust, adding to a festival culture that puts a unique emphasis on wellness.

Attendees will pitch their tents at Lake Eden for the four-day music festival (May 8-11), which boasts headliners including Beats Antique, Bootsy Collins & The Funk Unity Band and The Family Stone. In between performances, people can take advantage of the wellness offerings, including LEAF staples like meditation spaces, massage booths and yoga classes. New additions this year include a tea lounge organized by Dobrá Tea with tea-tasting classes, a black-light yoga rave, stand-up paddleboard yoga and a kombucha-making workshop.

“At a lot of festivals, you end up feeling supertired after the weekend,” says Jess Toan, healing-arts director for LEAF. “There’s staying up all night and dancing all the time, which is great, but [the healing-arts programming] adds balance where you can go get a massage or even go get a chiropractic adjustment after sleeping in a tent all weekend, get acupuncture or go to a yoga class. I think it’s a really key component to a festival weekend because it brings that balance, especially for families.”

All classes and workshops are included in the festival pass, while vendors who set up booths for massage and similar services charge an additional fee. The festival has gained a reputation for being family-friendly, and Toan says the wellness offerings are starting to gain more recognition as well, helping to create a festival environment that Toan says is uniquely LEAF.

Corey Costanzo, manager of Still Point Wellness, has been offering healing-arts classes at LEAF since he and his wife, Robin Fann-Costanzo, moved to the area five years ago. The couple lead a restorative yoga class with didgeridoo music, and they will also have two booths at the festival to represent their spa.

“It’s an incredible way to be at the festival, mainly because there is so much stimulation going on,” says Corey Costanzo. “There are a lot of people that really need a retreat into themselves. What I notice is that a lot people come to us with headaches or feeling really tired or drained. Or they’re sleeping on the floor camping, so their bodies are aching, and I really think that having an hour massage or even a 20-minute chair massage can really help somebody to just get away to have a little miniretreat into their bodies and into wellness that will help them to enjoy the festival even more.”

Unlike last year, the healing-arts booths and workshop areas will be dispersed throughout the grounds, which is also true of the kid villages. Organizers hope the arrangement will further integrate all that the festival has to offer.

“I think that it exposes people to the possibilities of self-care and the healing arts,” Costanzo says. “So many people in our culture are always on the go and always trying to fit more into their schedules, and they think of self-care as a luxury, where in the wellness field we really think about self-care as a lifestyle choice.”

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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is an editorial assistant and staff writer for the Mountain Xpress. She can be reached at lmclellan@mountainx.com.

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