Written by Jillian Love
If you are in the market for a high vibe transformational festival that feeds your mind, nourishes your body, and ignites your soul, then look no further, Bhaktifest is for you. This September 6th through 11th 2017 at the Joshua Tree, Retreat Center bring your best yoga mat, your favorite yoga clothes, a good sized water bottle, a comfy tent, a good sun hat and some shades and I promise… Bhaktifest will take care of the rest.
Last year was my first Bhaktifest and if they were selling a ticket to the next one on the way out, I would have bought them on the spot. I had done my research, spoke to some friends, read some articles and expected the festival to be pretty good but nothing could have prepared me for the experience I had. Below are some notable highlights to give you an idea of what I mean.
Let’s start with the FOOD. Ok so I’m a foodie, but not just any type of foodie, I’m a die-hard healthy foodie. I love that this event provides a wide array of truly conscious food choices. This is a fully vegetarian event with vendors offering everything from fresh wood fired pizza and gourmet coffee, to Ayurvedic kitchere bowls, raw/vegan salads and wraps, delicious super foods, and plenty of hot and cold elixirs. And, for those of you who like a bit of cacao now and again – like me (ahem) – rest assured there was a very satisfying selection of artesian chocolates available.
Then, there are the WORKSHOPS. There is something for everyone with offerings ranging from breath work, to intimate relating, to drumming, and more. A diverse variety of classes and experiences by renown presenters are offered in both air-conditioned and out door spaces. In the warm and sunny desert terrain, it was nice to have an air-conditioned space to enjoy a workshop now and again. There is also a pool on site if you want to cool down or just take a leisurely siesta and relax.
Of course, there is the YOGA. So I was doing my own practice, about a half hour a day prior to attending Bhaktifest last year and I figured I would enjoy taking a couple of classes. Truthfully though, the thought of yoga and kirtan for 4 days had me wondering if I might get a bit bored. I could not have been more wrong. The best of the best teachers are there and being in class with them was truly an opportunity to be in the presence of the masters. Classes were engaging, fun, and often included dharma teachings, live music, singing, and dancing. The passion, wisdom, and presence of the teachers were captivating and I found myself spending 4-6 hours a day in yoga classes. Between the incredible teachers, the live music accompaniments to the practices and the stunning desert backdrop, for the outdoor classes, the yoga experience is beyond measure.
Then there is the MUSIC. To really understand the power of the music it is important to take a moment to discuss what kirtan is. Kirtan is devotional changing to the divine which often encompasses call and response style repetition of Mantras. While one might think that this can all get a bit monotonous after a while I’m here to tell you, again, that at Bhaktifest this is absolutely not the case. There are as many styles of Kirtan as there are styles of music and the call and response that is indicative of Kirtan have the audience fully engaged with the music, with the performer, and with one another at all times. The positive energy generated is absolutely contagious. Everyone from Ram Dass, to MC Yogi, to Trevor Hall had their own unique version. There was no end to the opportunities to sing and dance to fun and fabulous and inspiring music with other happy humans. I’m excited to see the line up this year,
Last but absolutely not least there is the VIBE. Ok, ok, I know… “Vibe”. Did your woo-woo meter just go off? Well wait just another minute – give me a chance to explain. To understand the Vibe – you need to understand Bhakti. Bhakti is love – Bhakti Yoga is the Yoga of Love. Now begin with the fact that singing, dancing, and eating good food just feels good, then add in doing yoga and taking workshops with the masters, plus singing devotional chants of love with a huge group of happy people for hours a day for four days at the scenic Joshua Tree Retreat Center. This combination of experiences just does something to the body and mind and soul. There is a transformation that happens, a loving joyful interconnectedness and heart opening that develops at Bhaktifest. By day two or three it feels like all the humans are vibrating from the inside out and glowing with joy. This is the real magic – this is the “Vibe”.
There is an alchemy that occurs at Bhaktifest – the sum is so much greater than the parts. It is difficult to wrap words around it, but I did give it a shot. I suggest you come check it out for yourself. Bring your favorite yoga mat, your favorite yoga clothes, a good sized water bottle, a comfy tent, a good sun hat and some shades…. And I promise…Bhaktifest will take care of the rest.
Check out the lovely website for yourself and get your tickets here…