LEWISTON — Jim Wilkins has big plans. Big yoga plans.

The first Great Falls Yoga Festival is slated for September — and he’s already planning the second.

For this first year, Wilkins has lined up more than a dozen classes: Eye yoga. Couples massage yoga. Kundalini yoga, also known as yoga-that-sounds-rather-grueling.

“They put you in a position and you hold it, and you hold it some more, and then you hold it some more,” he said. “It starts building an incredible amount of strength and it’s also very focused on breath techniques.”

The event is a fundraiser for the Auburn Public Library and YWCA of Central Maine.

Wilkins, event organizer, newly certified yoga instructor and development director at the library, was inspired after attending a festival in Massachusetts last fall.

“I just thought, ‘Oh, my god, this is so much fun,'” he said. “Everybody is happy and everybody feels good. I thought you know what, we ought to do something like this in Lewiston-Auburn. It would be completely new and unheard of here.”

The Sept. 28 festival, which has partnered with Chill Yoga, runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a free morning community meditation and yoga class in Veterans Memorial Park at 6 a.m. It will be headquartered at the Royal Oak Room but also use some classroom space at The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing.

Wilkins said Chill Yoga’s Heidi Audet has recruited instructors from all over Maine and New Hampshire. All but one is donating their time and all have at least five years teaching experience. Some are quite local, among them Lewiston lawyer Bill Robitzek teaching Zen Meditation Techniques and Central Maine Medical Center’s Marcy Covey teaching Thai Yoga Bodywork for Couples.

“There’s this huge underground culture out there,” Wilkins said. “We thought now’s the time to bring this out so these people can come out of the woodwork.”

Wilkins’ wife, Mary, will teach Eye Yoga.

“They’re really exercises for the muscles around the eyes,” he said.

There will be two sessions in the morning and one in the afternoon with participants picking one class for each session.

Wilkins said the idea was to highlight a wide variety of styles and experiences. Yoga for Athletes gets the heart pumping. Life Form Yoga is geared toward fighting anxiety and depression.

There’s even a little non-yoga, like Intro to Herbology.

The festival dropped ticket prices last week from $125 for a full day to $99, with discounts for students and 2013 Dempsey Challenge participants. The ticket cost is $75 for a half-day.

“For yoga festivals around the country, that’s a fairly typical fee,” Wilkins said.

He said he likes that it will draw people from outside the community and that people will get something for their money — it’s not just making a donation to either group.

For nonprofits, “everybody is trying to raise money all the time and we’re trying to raise money from the same people,” Wilkins said.

He’s looking to create a two- or three-day event next year, and in the meantime hoping, “People will just go home at the end of the day and they will be in the zone with big smiles on their faces.”

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