by Carla Occaso
Here I am. Lying on my back in the middle of State Street in Montpelier holding my feet with my hands in a pose called “Happy Baby.” I am told to roll from side to side. “Okay,” I think. I strain my neck to look over my less-than-concave stomach to make sure I heard right and that everyone else is in this position, too. They pretty much are. I see a sea of swirly patterned leggings with feet in air, clutched by hands, knees bent outward — like dying spiders.
I had joined other participants who arrived just before 10 a.m., rolled out yoga mats, took off shoes and sat in anticipation. A continuous series of poses followed an opening guided meditation. The “Happy Baby” pose happened well past the halfway mark into Montpelier’s first “Yoga on State” event Saturday, May 7 — the brainchild of Chrissy Lafavour, owner of Grateful Yoga. That pose was just one of many, such as “Downward Dog”, “Cobra”, “Tree”, and “Warrior”.
‘Yoga on State’ was the culmination of Lafavour’s planning over the past few months. Lafavour told Montpelier City Council at a recent meeting she got the idea from a similar event held in Burlington on Church Street. She also told council members she had gone from business to business to inform them and get their blessing. In addition, she attended several Montpelier Business Association meetings in advance of the day.
“What if it rains?” someone asked her at the last Montpelier Business Association meeting May 4.
“It won’t,” Lafavour said.
And, for the most part, she was right, although 20 minutes before the event it sprinkled in a gently threatening way. The weather remained chilly and overcast, but raindrop-free during yoga. But yoga was not the only action in town.
The weekend was packed with a breathtaking array of lively activities. It was also the first of the warm-weather season’s outdoor Montpelier Farmers Market, Green Up Day and Mother’s day weekend. In addition, Langdon Street hosted the annual Onion River Sports bike swap and Three Penny Tap Room hosted “Montbeerlier”. The Friday before was Art Walk that included an open house to celebrate the publishing of “Geometry of Light” by Andrew Kline. He offered a slide show and discussion at the T.W. Wood Art at 46 Barre Street. Gallery Director Ginny Callan presided.
But for me the highlight of the weekend was Yoga on State. I wavered on a few of the more complicated, twisty one-legged poses, but for the most part kept up with a modicum of self respect. Ninety minutes later, I felt as if I were waking from a dream. I had only taken one yoga class before when I was in my early 30s. Back then I felt rather awkward and incompetent compared to the others. And this time I felt comparatively incompetent, as well, but I enjoyed doing it and was impressed that I even came close to being able to perform yoga poses for 90 minutes (okay, during some of that time we meditated, but still). In the end I rolled up my yoga mat and joined the ranks of the yoga-mat-carrying Montpelierites scurrying across the intersection of State and Main — if only for a day.