Down the Stretch


By Mariah Kline  |  Health & Wellness

Hunter S. Thompson famously labeled the Kentucky Derby as both “decadent and depraved.” While he may not have been wrong, the Derby does not have to be as much of a guilty pleasure this year. To kick off the big week, the Kentucky Derby Festival is hosting Neigh-Maste, a free yoga class held on the Great Lawn of Waterfront Park. The class takes place on Friday, April 28 as part of Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville.

The one-hour class is designed for absolutely anyone, whether you’ve never taken a yoga class before or you’ve been practicing for years. For those who have never tried yoga, experts recommend listening to your body and not overexerting yourself.

“We want people to meet themselves exactly where they are and work within that level of activity,” says Jamie Calzi of 502 Power Yoga. “That’s why it’s called ‘practicing’ yoga – because each day is different.”

Calzi, who created the event and came up with the clever name, has been practicing yoga for eight years and teaching for four. She currently teaches and acts as the community relations director for 502 Power Yoga. For Neigh-Maste, Calzi will be sharing the stage with fellow instructors Betsy Jones and Carrie Keller of Betsy’s Studio and Dana McGowan of Buti Yoga at PLAY. Last year’s class had almost 200 people in attendance, and as an official event for Kentucky Derby Festival 2017, they’re hoping to see many more this year. One special guest in attendance will be social media star Morgan DeYoung a.k.a. the Southern Yogi.

Admission to the event is free with a 2017 Pegasus Pin, but participants must register and sign a waiver form beforehand. The waiver can also be found on KDF’s website for those who want to review and sign it prior to the class. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and the session lasts from noon until 1 p.m. Guests should bring their own yoga mat and water, and wear something comfortable.

Before the class, attendees can have their hair braided by experts from Primp Style Lounge. Afterward, the Chow Wagon will have a variety of food vendors ready to serve lunch. In keeping with the horse theme, a very special Derby basket will be given away to one lucky yogi. The basket includes a $100 Visa gift card, yoga mat, yoga towel, Derby glasses and more. All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is post a picture on Instagram with #neighmaste in the caption.

What sets Neigh-Maste apart from other yoga classes is not just its venue or its theme, but rather the level of passion and excitement the instructors have for the exercise.

“I love yoga because it’s accessible to all ages and all levels of fitness,” affirms Calzi. “Our studio is really focused on community and bringing people together, and Neigh-Maste ties into that focus. It’s going to be a lot of fun and will not be too challenging for anyone. We’re really excited to host this and to celebrate our amazing city together.”

What better way to begin your Derby festivities than with a community of yogis who are ready to celebrate? Whether you want to take part in a healthy activity before the decadence of Derby begins or you just want to spend some time outside, Neigh-Maste is sure to be a great time. VT

Neigh-Maste on the Waterfront

Friday, April 28

11:30 a.m.