At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we know the power of immersion. Setting aside a time to actively focus on loving and nurturing yourself, whether it’s through rest, silence, meditation, an Ayurvedic cleanse, or yoga, is an intensely healing and empowering practice. Yoga festivals are one of many ways to make time for yourself and your practice.
With two outstanding yoga festivals coming up in close proximity to the Retreat Center, the Asheville Yoga Festival (July 25-27), and the Floyd Yoga Jam over Labour Day weekend, we asked yoga teacher and writer Sarah Dittmore to share her thoughts on why these festivals are so fabulous.
During the summer months there’s a yoga festival happening almost every weekend in North America. But what’s the big deal about yoga festivals? That’s what I asked myself before I went to Envision Festival, but it wasn’t until I was crying goodbye to my fellow festival-attendees that I had an answer. Here’s why you should attend a yoga festival sooner rather than later.
1. Give your practice the jump-start it needs
Finding it difficult to shake yourself of the lethargy that runs rampant in winter? You’re not alone. We all get in funks, and sometimes it can feel impossible to pull ourselves back to our yoga practice. A yoga festival is the perfect answer. You’ll be surrounded by people who are dedicated to the practice and excited to get on their mats. A drastic shift in behavior can be key in breaking bad habits, and yoga is addictive, so a few days of intense practice at a yoga festival are sure to send you home wanting more.
2. Discover new teachers and new ideas
Yoga festivals attract some of the most renowned yoga teachers in the world. Between practicing with world-class teachers and hearing their philosophies, you are bound to walk away with inspiration and ideas. Most of us get in the habit of going to the same classes every week. Yoga festivals force us to explore different ways of practicing and thinking.
3. Find out why solo adventure is so powerful
There seems to be a pervading fear of being alone. What will we find? What will that mean? Sure, it’s scary, but it’s also absolutely necessary for self-discovery and growth. A yoga festival is the perfect place to get to know yourself and discover just how powerful these solo experiences can be.
4. Meet your people and find your tribe
While solo adventure is rewarding, yoga festivals also provide the opportunity to find your tribe. You have your family. You have your friends. But there’s a different kind of people you meet at a yoga festival. Some call it their “spiritual family” or “tribe.” It’s those people that you know for a few minutes and feel an intense and immediate intimacy with. They just get you. They help you grow and support you in ways you never knew you needed to be supported. And they’re waiting for you at yoga festivals around the world.
5. Take time to relax and rejuvenate
Most of us live in a state of constant stress. We’re overworked and exhausted. Going to a yoga festival is a perfect way to take a short vacation with big impacts on your health. Again and again scientists have shown that yoga is good for your brain, and giving yourself a few days to focus on nothing but your well-being is invaluable.
6. Good things happen outside of your comfort zone
You probably don’t practice yoga every day or constantly think about chakras and yamas. Between the hundreds of strangers and new environment, there’s no doubt that a yoga festival will be at least a little outside of your comfort zone. But that’s the beauty of it! Outside the comfort zone is where you grow, learn, and redefine your limits.
7. Experience the power of coming together
Whether it’s chatting over dinner with your new friends, practicing amongst hundreds of sweaty bodies, or swaying together to the beat of the music, there will be countless times at a yoga festival when you’ll feel the collective vibrations flow through you and lift you up. And that’s what it’s all really about, isn’t it?
Why do you go to yoga festivals? What are your best yoga festival experiences? Let us know in the comments below.
Sarah Dittmore is a yoga teacher, writer, and traveler at heart who has been inspired by the people and places she’s discovered. Follow her journey on Instagram.
This article first appeared in Yoga Basics.
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