Our earth altar at Alexandra’s Tree. Sticks and pinecones formed a first chakra four-petaled lotus around the base of the tree.
When it comes to summer festivals, I gravitate towards intimate and connected experiences, rooted in spirit and nature to feed my thirsty soul. I need to feel the earth under my toes, witness the stars falling, and take time to notice the subtle differences in the way light plays in people’s eyes.
Rob revealing his sparkle.
I also crave time away from my technology obsession, my fancy for wine, and my affinity towards slow-smoked meats. With a full power and water outage due to a freak summer storm, as well as the gift of a ‘food ceremonialist’ as our vegan chef (Kariann Neal), I was in position for a mid-summer full body/mind/spirit reset. The NW Yogafest successfully awakened my shakti, and I returned filled with a sense of gratitude, aliveness, love, and inspiration. Upon reflection, I realize that my greatest joy came from the heartfelt connections I savored and fostered throughout the weekend.
Here I am with my new friend, Krishna. I’m pretending to be Radha..
One of the highlights of my weekend was reconnecting with my friend Jennifer Isaacson who has been wanderlusting around the world for the past year leading retreats in succulent places like Bali and Sayulita. Her unique style of yoga is a blend of spirit-channeled wisdom that can only come from thousands of hours of devotion, with a splash of humor that sets everyone at ease.
Jennifer assists with an adjustment while light pours through the Garden House windows.
Another Yogafest blessing, was having the opportunity to work alongside shaman Shakti goddess Cosetta Romani creating sacred altars, and witnessing her ability to create magical spaces and transformational experiences.
First chakra human mandala ceremony, guided by Cosetta Romani.
Sharing my own gifts during the ‘Intuitive Painting Playshop’ was a soothing experience that brought my group spontaneously to the beach, where we set up an outdoor studio in the grassy shade. We stepped outside of time to create colorful abstract scenes embedded with ancient symbols. This experience reminded me how important it is to be connected with nature in the process that I’m developing, and I made sure to reserve a time slot at the beach for next year’s workshop.
Intuitive Painting Playshop participants dive in to water and watercolor at Garfield Bay.
Sunday afternoon brought another opportunity for creative integration with a timeless rock painting session along the quiet and peaceful shores of Green Bay.
Rock painting decompression session Sunday afternoon at Green Bay with the crew.
Dancing with my Gypsy Diva sisters as an opening ceremony to Cosetta’s (amazing) trance dance was the personal highlight of my weekend. Our dancing group was founded over 7 years ago by Brietta Leader, best friend and soul sister. We’ve performed to a variety of genres from Bollywood, belly dance fusion, yoga fusion, tango, flamenco, even Burlesque. This particular dance was choreographed by Hallie Owen. As we stood before the beautiful crowd of glowing, radiant yogis, we felt held by a group of witnesses that transported us to an earthy, ancient realm from which we emerged. The dance itself felt like a dream amidst the backdrop of Alexandra’s Tree.
Gypsy Divas setting the tone for the trance dance.
Hallie Owen, Brietta Leader, Holly Walker, Julie, Lili Waldrup
Now it is over. My goddess costume has been put back in the closet. The altars have been dismantled. The earth has begun to reclaim her temporary sculptures. I am left with a deep sense of aliveness. In the book I’m reading, Awakening Shakti, Sally Kempton speaks about shakti as a creative life force energy fueled from within, and sparked by the essence of ancient deities as they come to play in our lives. NW Yogafest was abundant with opportunities for such encounters. So much gratitude.
P.S. I am grateful to Steve and Yvette for cultivating such a beautiful piece of land, and having the ability to work together side-by-side, even through many life-altering changes.
Reserve your sacred spot in next year’s Yogafest July 24-26, 2015.