Inspired by the people and culture of NYC, SoulFest was born in 2015 in Harlem. We believe yoga and wellness should be accessible to everybody. We value:
- Inclusivity & Diversity: celebrating our rich culture, through its people.
- Accessibility to All: Near or far, we are here to provide you with in person and virtual experiences.
- Celebrating local Communities: The SOUL of SOULFest is our community. Uplifting one another is central to how we practice wellness.
Even as a child Lara always wanted to be of service. At first her desire was to be a pediatrician, then support people through the arts, until finally she found yoga. Her over two decades of yoga teaching have been an ever expanding exploration into its healing properties. Lara has made over ten trips to India to study this ancient system and has certifications in Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Chair Yoga, Children’s Yoga, Trauma Informed Mindfulness, Life-Coaching Restorative Fasting, and more.
Along the way, she fell specifically in love with Harlem and the Harlem, NYC community and decided to make her home there as well as open her first yoga shala, Land Yoga in 2011. A hub of yoga, wellness, art and support for families and children, Land attempted to do it all. When it couldn’t all fit inside the studio, Lara looked for outside possibilities and partnerships to grow her vision and in finding Iana Velez and Yoga+ Magazine, SOULFest was born.
I was born and raised in NYC, and providing free wellness resources that are accessible to all in my hometown has been something I have been passionate about for many years. I know first hand the enormous stress that can come from growing up and living in a dense, urban environment and the physical and emotional relief and comfort that wellness practices can provide.
Years ago I had an incredible opportunity to attend a yoga festival, and left the experience rejuvenated and inspired. I also was shocked at how expensive the event was. After festival passes, hotel, airfare and unpaid time off work, it could cost upwards of thousands of dollars and exclude many people from having access to festivals.
Creating SOULFest with Lara as a rockstar co-producer has been a joy and in line with my vision and mission for my magazine Yoga+ Magazine
We are so excited to be in the planning stages
and want to make the SOULFEST NYC BIGGER & BETTER for 2021.
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