I spent this past weekend camping with some beautiful yoginis at lake Wansee at the Berlin Yoga Festival. It was amazing to be reunited with people that I met in the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training I attended in India, as well as a few others I have met along my journey thus far.
Besides yoga asana, the Berlin Yoga Festival had many demonstrations, music, and lectures on a range of topics and interests, and the whole festival seemed to blend the eastern and western traditions of yoga.
But naturally for me, one of the best parts of this festival was the delicious vegan food.
Satyam offered amazing ayurvedic Indian food. It was spicy, full of flavor, and authentic. If I can make it there I will pay a visit to their restaurant this week for more!
Goodies had vegan coffee, chai, and various treats! I loved their coconut energy ball. The also had some vegan chili, and a coconut curry.
We really enjoyed our afternoon chai and sweet treat in the tea area. It was just like India!
Besides food, there were many other speakers, demonstrations, and events to attend including wonderful music, yoga asana classes, and guided meditations.
I found Swami Gurusharananda at the festival, who I met initially in the US and then again in India. On Saturday he did some traditional chanting, and it brought me right back to my stay at his ashram in India.
On Sunday, he taught the practice of Swakriya yoga, which is a combination of mantra, yoga asana, and cleansing (kriyas). The class he taught worked on the clarifying the elements in the body, and was unlike any yoga asana class I had done before. My friends and I really enjoyed the beautiful practice, and I was more than happy to see Swamiji again!
Some other sessions I enjoyed:
Thai Yoga Massage Workshop with Pau Castellague – Thai yoga massage comes from India in the Buddhist tradition and the uses gravity, and the body, as opposed to the hands, to relieve tension in the receiver. This was my first introduction to the practice, and really, Pau’s energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge, provided an excellent introduction, as I am eager to learn more about Thai yoga massage now!
Sunyoga with Sunyogi Umasankar – In the sunyoga session, we learned how to utilize the energy of the sun for cleansing. The practice involved meditating towards the sun, and staring just slightly above the sun to receive it’s energy. The practice was warming and relaxing, and I think I will try this again on my own earlier in the morning when the sun isn’t so strong, as Sunyogi recommended.
Tantric Hatha Yoga and Kirtan with Michael Stewart and Friends – This three hour session included a puja, yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and kirtan – what more could I want? There was live music during the session which perfectly coincided with the movements and breathing we practiced. Stewart is a great teacher, and this workshop was one of the highlights of the weekend.
and of course so much chanting, music, good company, and new friends!
Overall, I enjoyed the festival, and the location was beautiful. The price of 45 euro for three days was reasonable considering how many interesting speakers, classes, and workshops were provided.
However, I think a bigger space will be necessary for upcoming years, as many of the events were incredibly crowded. Sometimes we really couldn’t get space at all to enjoy the more popular events, even when arriving very early. But clearly, it’s always a good sign that so many people are interested in yoga and eastern practices!
I really did enjoy this festival, and hope that I can attend this event again in the future.
Have you ever attended a yoga festival? What was your experience? Would you like to attend one?