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Stretching tradition: ‘Yoga Crawl’ festival features classes at studios across town

Elevate to Illuminate is not your typical yoga festival.

Instead, the first annual yoga crawl will be spread out among various studios throughout the city. It will end with a Gratitude Gala, in which participants will gather for a vegetarian feast provided by The Acre restaurant.

“I think unlike a traditional yoga festival where everybody comes together in one location, what Elevate to Illuminate does, it allows pass holders to discover yoga studios themselves and teachers that are at the studios,” said event organizer Dean Strober of Blue River Productions. “Every yoga studio in town has a unique feel to it and a unique identity, and that’s really missing in the traditional yoga festival model. So what Elevate to Illuminate does is it supports a lot of the local yoga studios by introducing yoga students to their studios to their teachers to their brand that they create at their spaces.”

Being immersed in the yoga community is what spurred the Elevate to Illuminate idea for Strober’s wife, Lena Armstrong-Strober. She has been teaching yoga for 14 years and goes by her spiritual name, Narayan Sita.

“I actually took my first (yoga) class when I was 11,” she said. “… I was actually a dancer, so it was kind of natural. (Famous dancer) Juliet Prowse came into town and I was performing with her here in Albuquerque and I was with the New Mexico Ballet Company at the time. … She actually offered a yoga class, and so that was my first yoga class ever, and actually that was almost my first and my last, because I did not go right back to it. And when I was 26, that’s when I went back devotedly. I haven’t stopped ever since.”

About 90 classes will be offered as part of the event at various yoga studios on Feb. 2 and 3. Participating studios include 3B Yoga, Everliving Wellness & Yoga, Bhava, Blissful Spirits, High Desert Yoga, Indi Yoga, Mi Vida Yoga, NM School of Yoga, and Orange Yoga. A wide variety of classes for all levels, ages and abilities, including meditation, prenatal yoga, Sufi dance, yoga for desk people, hot yoga, kundalini yoga, Rocket Yoga, Quiet Mind Yoga and more.

In addition to connecting yoga enthusiasts, Elevate to Illuminate is a fundraiser for the Women’s Empowerment & Skill Development Program at Govardhan Ecovillage, outside Mumbai, India. All event pass holders will be entered to win a week stay at Govardhan Ecovillage. The Govardhan Ecovillage is a place that inspires an inner transformation, allowing guests to appreciate the gifts of the earth and what it means to live simply in keeping with spiritual and eco-friendly principles, according to an event news release.

“They have about 250 self-help groups from about 10 rural areas, and they help teach women how to have their own bank accounts, how to be sustainable, how to make and generate an income for themselves,” Armstrong-Strober said of the Women’s Empowerment & Skill Development Program. “Teaching them skills based on their own talents, whether that be sewing or anything having to do with the arts. They show them crafts, and they actually take the women out to various events and let them sell their products, and they get to keep whatever they (earn).”

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