Summer Yoga Festivals

June 29, 2015

It’s festival season, and if you’re a community-minded yogi, you have a wealth of options for great yoga festivals to attend! Grab your yoga mat, and let’s take a look at some of the most popular and interesting yoga-oriented events coming up in July:

 

1. Wanderlust

 

Wanderlust

 

One of the biggest festival series in the United States, Wanderlust comes to both Colorado and British Columbia in July. Each of their retreats takes place at a beautiful and natural resort, and you can experience yoga, meditation, workshops and a number of other activities geared towards the festivals’ active and mindful participants. You’ll also enjoy performances by notable musical guests – in the past, Wanderlust has hosted artists like Moby, Girl Talk, Michael Franti and Ziggy Marley!

 
2. Telluride Yoga Festival

 

Telluride

 

Also in Colorado, there’s the Telluride Yoga Festival. Nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains, you can enjoy yoga practice in a huge variety of styles, along with Ayurvedic workshops, group hikes and Reiki instruction.

 

3. Yoga Festival Berlin

For European yogis, Berlin’s Yoga Festival is coming soon! There will be dozens of inspiring guests and speakers, focusing on a number of topics and disciplines including Buddhism, meditation, detoxification and Kundalini.

 

4. cOMmon Grounds Yoga and Music Festival

Yoga and music go hand in hand! The annual cOMmon Grounds Yoga and Music Festival takes place at a picturesque campground outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota. There are daily yoga classes and concerts of course, but the festival also offers evening movies, drumming circles, hiking, biking and more!

 

5. International Tantra Festival

 

Tantra Festival

 

This festival, dedicated to the ancient practice of Tantra, will be held at a beautiful resort in Estonia, with lakeside camping available to all attendees. This program focuses on both the spiritual and physical aspects of Tantra, inspiring its participants to fully embrace life and love with a broad range of workshops.

 

6. Northwest Yoga Feast

 

NW Yoga Feast

 

And back in our neck of the woods, we have the Northwest Yoga Feast in northern Idaho – that’s right, it’s now Yoga Feast, not just Yoga Fest! Featuring Seattle-based chef Karrian Neal, this event will feed both mind and body. The chef’s menus focus on “conscious consumption” and are all vegetarian and vegan. But the yoga doesn’t take a back seat to the food – there are tons of classes, ranging from Acro Yoga to Vinyasa.

And for yoga on the go, check out Barefoot Yoga’s convenient yoga mat bags, which are perfect to tote all your festival necessities this summer!

 


Coming Back to Yoga: Negotiating with Myself

June 26, 2015

DavesPhoto

 

On International Yoga Day (June 21st) – while taking a free outdoor yoga class here in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle – which is adjacent to Barefoot Yoga Headquarters – I made a commitment to do yoga for at least a half hour, 6 days a week. Today is day 6.

I’m happy to report I have stuck to my commitment. Not sure I would have if not for announcing this. Life has been extra busy.

I had envisioned waking up early and getting my yoga in, but the snooze button won all week. Here at work, I rolled my yoga mat out in my office. The first day it was completely flat, making it hard not to step on when walking from my desk to anywhere. I got in 5 minutes of yoga. I have since folded it in half, and then I folded it again. I have not returned to it since “day 3″.

So, each evening I have found myself hungry for dinner, home with my freshly-out-of-school-for-the-year almost 8 year-old daughter, and with the prospect of not doing yoga at all. That first night I decided my yoga would happen after eating, but it would be in the form of sitting meditation. There was a time I would have said, “Well, that doesn’t really count.” That was before I tried sitting upright and silent for 30 minutes years ago. In my experience, it ain’t no walk in the park.

The other night, as I drove home from the grocery store at 11 PM, I considered making that day my day of rest for the week. But then it occurred to me I had already inadvertently taken a day of rest on day 2. I went home and did my 30 minutes. This time I played some meditative music (which seems to make it easier – but I wonder if it takes away some of the purity).

The last three nights – between 10 and 11 PM, I have done 30 minutes of sitting meditation. All were different, but had things in common. In each case, I felt more comfortable than I anticipated – with my daughter’s zafu (pictured above) supporting my seat, and my legs bent underneath me (Virasana-hero pose). In each case, I felt proud of myself when the clock started, and I settled in. In all 3 meditations, my mind floated in and out of thoughts, and occasionally stopped thinking altogether, my closed-eyed gaze a deeper black, and just the sound of my breath. In each meditation, my mind wondered impatiently whether I had 15 minutes left, or 3, or 20? In each meditation my skin crawled, and I stirred uncomfortably – wondering if I could keep going. It got intense, and I thought about the folks who do Vipasana meditations for hours and hours. This helped.

Last night I stuck a Barefoot Yoga zabuton (pictured above) underneath my daughter’s zafu. Sometimes to motivate ourselves for a disciplined action, we need help. The zabuton definitely improved my comfort, and will be used as often as possible from here on in. Also, this new meditation throne which resides conveniently under my bed is beckoning me to sit on it. Reminds me of the phrase from Field of Dreams – “build it, and they will come.”

I will have to return that zafu to my daughter, and grab another one for myself.  In the meanwhile – meditation definitely counts, although I’m looking forward to yoga movement too in my near future. For now, it’s all about “getting it in.”  I believe this flow will grow.

 


Coming Back to Yoga: A New Commitment

June 25, 2015

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Mysore, India circa 1996. Barefoot Yoga co-founder Dave with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath in front of the Yoga Shala after practice.

 

Sometimes we all need a spark to get going on something we know will do us a world of good.  And sometimes we need to proclaim our commitment to this discipline-requiring activity to help muster up that regular discipline.

 

Fre Sols Yoga 15

 

The picture above is from this past weekend’s free yoga class hosted by Laura Yon Yoga & Bodywork at the Fremont Fair nearby Barefoot Yoga here in Seattle.  I had set my sights on this class from weeks before, when Barefoot Yoga Co. donated a Silk sari scented eye pillow (Brindavan Teal) that was a prize raffled off to a lucky participant.

Laura Yon teaches a beautiful class. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t hot. A perfect Seattle morning. 130 or so of us – mostly in unison.

For the rest of the day, I felt the lift of that yoga class. I moved more fluidly. I felt more even keeled in all ways.

 

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Dave in “leaning tower of Pisa” pose

 

I came to yoga to strengthen my body after a back injury in my twenties. My yoga dedication peaked in Mysore, India 1996 – practicing almost daily with Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath for two months. Since that time, I have felt in my heart yoga would be a big part of my life. And it has – with Barefoot Yoga – that started after that experience, and continues today.

But my own feet – bare or otherwise, have not gotten back into a regular yoga practice since shortly after Mysore.

Meanwhile, I have been asked to write blogs here, but have had a hard time figuring out what to write about. During that wonderful free outdoor class on the first official International Yoga Day in our history (as decreed by the United Nations last December) – a light bulb went off. I will write about my own re-entry into a regular practice. I will periodically write updates about my efforts to squeeze yoga into my life regularly.

In the picture above from Sunday’s class here in Seattle, I see one yogi who has both legs pulled to his chest, while all others have one leg extended. That’s okay, we don’t always move at the exact pace of the class. But I’ll admit, I’m slightly embarrassed to be the one person not holding the correct pose.

Perhaps over time, my ego will melt away in favor of higher yogic consciousness. For now I will simply add that my Barefoot Yoga Performance Grip mat (pictured below) was perfect for this class held in a parking lot. Its density not only felt comfortable and padded when on our knees, its firmness kept me totally grounded for the balancing poses.

Also, our UPS man’s girlfriend spotted my Lotus pattern yoga mat bag, and he came in the next day and requested one for her.

 

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Office yoga at BFY

Most importantly, I am motivated to squeeze yoga into my busy life regularly. My mat is now open in my office, (pictured above) – and although I have only squeezed in about five minutes worth today, it was enough for a new concept to emerge – “the yoga five.” My goals are modest now – at least a half hour of yoga 6 days a week. That’s how I got hooked in the first place – more than two decades ago. But I’m hoping this time it lasts – for a lifetime, (or three). Time, and I  – will tell.