As far as vacations go, I couldn't think of a better way to spend mine than at a yoga festival.
Ok, that or maybe Amsterdam...
But I've done yoga at Burning Man (with my 73 year old grandpa, but that's another story), and I've done burned it down at Wanderlust with my cousins, brother and father (yet another series of stories), and when it comes to how I choose to spend my time – and my presence – I pick out two or three consciousness expanding parties in different locals to attend per year.
Why do I do this?
They're kind of weird, but then again...so am I. And when I'm at a festival I get to do so many wonderfully weird things, but one of them is to just let go and know that I am among people who think – at least to some extent – like me.
They eat like me and party like me (with some significant variation depending on the venue and the name on the marquis).
To me this sense of community is priceless.
When large numbers of yogis gather in one place the whole world wins...but especially “we” does.
When we take a moment to step outside the familiar and sometimes stifling story of “me”, we have a rare and unique chance to step into the ongoing story of “we”. Yoga festivals are excellent social events for connecting to other members of the conscious community.
And let me tell you, parties filled with “we” are far more fun than those filled with “me”!
(There's also significantly less cigarette smoke.)
Connection is priceless, but as a bang for your buck experiences go, yoga festivals offer a great and cost effective way to experience a variety of different ways in one place.
I don't know about you, but as a yoga-consumer my growth matters to me and where I spend my money and on whom is an important decision when it comes to my ongoing education.
Shiva Rea in LA or Baron Baptiste in The Middle East? Both have their merits...so many in fact that I can't ever really lose when I spend my money on attending a yoga festival. No matter who's there or where, when awesome teachers from all over the country come together, you kind of can't help but grow as a student. And on top of it, you can actually save money by joining them when they all happen to be in one place and see some new scenery while you're at it.
I've taken a lot of trips around the world and will never get back those three weeks in Puerto Rico, but I've never thought or said the words, “Man, wish'd I hadn't've gone to that yoga festival.”
I am so grateful to present OUTLAW Yoga at a few festivals each year.
My ol' man and little brother come along and play music and sing songs...my assistant Megan will be there smiling and adjusting and handing out temporary tattoos...and Jackie 'O will have two huge pots of green chili going (one veg, one meat) – and enough of each to feed the whole freakin' festival.
We try to go somewhere close...somewhere on the coast...and somewhere in the middle.
This coming February we will kick off our 2015 festival tour schedule by presenting at The Sedona Yoga Festival for a few pretty cool reasons -
One, they host a pre-conference training on Trauma-Sensitive and Resiliency Training to Benefit First Responders led by a wonderful team of teachers including Rob Schware and Olivia Kvitne.
Two, its priced at $397 for an all-access pass ($333 group). If you make it to 6 classes that's like fifty or sixty bucks each – about the same as a series of weekend workshops at your local studio, except that you'd also be in Sedona, Arizona for godssakes!
And three, the SYF gives 10% of ticket sales back to Outlaw Yoga's partner in service – The Giveback Yoga Foundation, which means your serving just by going, celebrating, growing, and connecting...
Pretty f*ckin cool way to serve if you ask me.
Hope we see you there, OUTLAWS!
By Justin Kaliszewski
Justin Kaliszewski is a reformed meat-head and former amateur cage fighter. He brings a lifetime of travel and world's worth of experience in battling the ego to the mat. An avid student, artist, and treasure hunter, he infuses a creativity and perseverance into his teachings, along with a distinct blend of humor and wisdom that redefines what it means to be an Outlaw and a yogi...He teaches Outlaw Yoga across the country and is happy to call Denver home for now. Author of Outlaw Protocol: how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal, you can find him at www.outlawyoga.com.
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