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Yoga and Fitness Events Return as Part of The Arnold Sports Festival This Weekend

Nancy Alkire Nancy Alkire Yoga and Fitness Events Return as Part of The Arnold Sports Festival This WeekendOmStar celebrity Irene Pappas will lead classes at the 2018 Arnold Classic March 2 and 3. Photo courtesy Irene Pappas.
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“Everyone is going to have so much fun,” says Julie Wilkes, owner of Seven Studios and coordinator of yoga events at the Arnold Classic for 2018, “We will have something for everyone — even amputees!”

Julie Wilkes of Seven Studios, and co-organizer of Yoga and Fitness at The Arnold.

Julie Wilkes of Seven Studios, and coordinator of Yoga and Fitness at The Arnold.

Free yoga classes and other yoga and fitness events will be held in the Short North Ballroom during this year’s Arnold Classic, March 1-4, 2018. There will also be events on the main concourse including three fitness fashion shows by sponsor Bend, a local designer and retailer of athletic wear including the Shelley Meyer Collection that helps raise money for cancer research at Ohio State.

“We want to inspire with the incredible stories of Columbus’ fitness community,” says Adam Heller, co-owner with his wife, Laura, of Bend. Bend is recruiting local fitness instructors for the runway. “We have such incredible talent in Columbus,” Heller noted, “It will be great to see them walk and inspire.”

“The yoga will be accessible to everyone,” says Babajide Ogunmola, self-described ‘fitness nerd’ and teacher/manager at LIT Life + Yoga on Fourth Street, about his Limitless Master Class scheduled at the 2018 Arnold. “It will be some dynamic flow, challenging poses, and intense toning … but it can all be modified to any level.”

Ogunmola’s class is complimentary. Also free, are an interesting-sounding Blindfolded Mediation and Yoga with essential oils led by Wilkes and Melissa Hampshire (“It gives people the opportunity to experience yoga without distractions,” says Wilkes.) and a Yoga Warrior class with conga drums led by Alexander Chang, Amanda Reynolds-Snavely and Julie Wilkes. Conga drummer Reggie Roundtree will also accompany the Bend fashion show on Saturday. A free class for amputees will be offered on Sunday, March.

A big highlight of yoga at the Arnold 2018 will be OmStar celebrity, Irene Pappas who has several classes March 2 – 3 including her famous “Liquid Spine.” Pappas has several yoga media projects and leads international yoga retreats around the globe, including in Costa Rica. Pappas overcame several injuries including a severe wrist injury in 2015 and found her continuing yoga practice helped her heal and find great inner happiness which she enjoys sharing with others.

“I polled extensively about who we should bring to the Arnold and her name kept coming up,” said Wilkes. “Irene has a terrific practice and is so fun and relaxed. I know that people are going to love her.” There are fees for Pappas’ classes.

Some other very interesting yoga classes with small fees include an Ayurvedic Health session on March 2 with dietician and certified Ayurvedic specialist Marisa Barsotti of Yoga on High for $30. Also happening is Thai Yoga Massage (TYM) by Charles Gibson on March 4 for just $20. TYM combines accupressure, Aryuvedic scents and stretching in assisted yoga postures. Amidst the frenzy of events at the Arnold, a TYM session with Charles Gibson would be a welcome refuge.

“I just want people to get used to touch,” says Gibson.

And finally, Aaron King of Dharma House will also lead a partner yoga class with Annie Inoa on March 4 for $20; note that Aaron’s mellifluous voice alone is worth the price of admission!

For the first time, there will be a Yoga Exhibition and Photo contest on Saturday, March 3. This allows individuals and their partners to come onstage and perform an up to three minute routine. The audience will be asked to take as many pictures as possible and post on the internet. There will be prizes for the most inspiring routines and photos. Participants should get some great photos!

Speaking of photogenic, in 2017 the Arnold hosted Joseph Encinia and yoga competitions from USA Yoga which aims to make yoga an Olympic event.

“Since we combined yoga with fitness offerings, we did not have enough space to offer the yoga competitions [this year] but hope to possibly bring them back in the future,” said Wilkes. “For this year, we are excited to offer ‘yoga for everyone’ and have a wide variety of unique and fun classes that everyone can participate in.”

Advance admission to the Arnold is $15 and highly recommended. It is $20 and a long wait at the door.

For more information on yoga and fitness events at The Arnold Sports Festival, visit the fitnessandyogaatthearnold.com.

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