Holding your stance steady, you focus on controlling your breath. In and out. Fresh forest air fills your lungs, to the sounds of birdsong, the rustle of trees overhead and a cascading creek nearby.
This is the new yoga experience available in Whitecroft that takes place nestled in the woods of Wild Poppy Farm, the property of Green Art Festival founder, Dasha Novak.
“The property has an amazing energy and I wanted to share that with others,” she said. “I always felt that the energy around the creek is magical and almost has a transformative quality.”
The project to bring yoga to the forest space took a year to realize, with the construction of a deck platform incorporating wood from the property to make a suitable space that did not intrude on the surrounding landscape.
“It was a labour of love and when it was finally finished a couple of months ago, it was definitely a dream come true,” Novak said. “It was a journey towards a certain way of looking at things, and perceiving the world around us and the slowing down of time. It’s entering into a different time space, a different space of mind that tells us to be aware and to give thanks to the forest.”
Now, the space hosts twice-weekly yoga sessions, Sundays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m. Participants pay $10 per session to cover the costs of a local certified yoga instructor and pre-registration is required to ensure numbers remain capped.
“We are keeping social distance and can accommodate six to eight people on the deck for yoga,” Novak explained.
Novak, who also teaches film at Capilano University and works in film, envisions the project expanding to encompass a broader appreciation of nature through multiple art forms.
“The vision of the deck is not just to do yoga and to bring people with the energy that is thankful for what we are getting from nature…but it’s also an idea for bringing new visions, to playing new music and create art, whether it’s visual or musical,” she said.
Novak’s intention is to host outdoor film screenings around the deck. “The plan is to place a screen in the trees and project films that are inspired by nature and our connectivity to nature, and I’m still hoping that’s going to happen in September,” she said.
In previous years, the Green Art Festival hosted outdoor film screenings in Sun Peaks village, and Novak hopes winter won’t slow things down. She is a board member of the committee that maintains an old church on Heffley Louis Creek Road, and is awaiting approval to use that space to continue yoga and film screenings when it becomes unviable to continue hosting them outdoors.
“Right now we are just focusing on inclusion and people feeling like this is a neighbourhood thing, not a high-skill event,” Novak said. “This is all about inclusion and creating a community.”
To register for yoga and for more information about upcoming film screenings at Wild Poppy Farm, visit Green Art Festival on Facebook.