It’s been a couple of weeks since the Hanuman Festival, and the afterglow is still radiating. Hanuman is the first yoga conference I’ve ever attended, so I had no idea what to expect. I anticipated feeling part of a larger yoga community and being pushed out of my yogic comfort zone (in a good way). What I actually received was exponentially more than that.
My very first experience of the festival was Kathryn Budig’s Flight of the Yogi class. “Flight,” in this case, meant both inversions and an uplifting of spirits as the ebullient Kathryn led us through two hours of Handstands, Scorpion Pose and other feet-off-the-ground asanas. It was the first time in my (cough, cough) years of doing yoga that I held Crow Pose without the tiptoe tapping that usually accompanies Bakasana. So exciting! I partnered with a lovely woman who’d flown in for Hanuman from Florida. We helped each other get into Handstand against the wall, another pose I’d just written off as too advanced. I was growing and changing, right there on the mat!
These small triumphs motivated me to try something ca-ra-zy out of my comfort zone: slacklining. In the spontaneous spirit of the Hanuman Festival, I joined a workshop put on by the YogaSlackers to learn the basics of slacklining, which is like a cross between walking across a tightrope and a trampoline. First we learned how to kneel on the line, a flat rope of nylon webbing, without our hands or feet touching the ground, then we tried mounting the line. When you push down on the line in an attempt to control it, it bounces everywhere; you can’t step on. When, however, you pull that energy back into your body, you can mount the line with ease. If you try to control the line, it tries to control you back; own your energy, and the line receives. Here’s my Pinterest-quote-worthy learning from slacklining: Whatever energy you give to the line (the world, your career, your relationship — you get the idea), comes back to you in the same form.
The class that summed up the deeply joyful feeling of the festival was a Kundalini yoga practice led by Kia Miller. In the middle of class, Kia announced that the musicians that usually accompany her had had a baby that very day. So to celebrate, she put on some of their music and announced that the only requirement was that we bounce! Imagine 80 or so yogis dancing and jumping and romping through an open-air tent in the beautiful Colorado sunshine. I bet we danced for a full seven minutes. It was so moving, physically, emotionally, spiritually. What a treat!
Even in the Hanuman afterglow, I’m already looking forward to next year’s experience. Join Gaiam next June 14-16 for Hanuman Festival 2013, where you’ll meet and practice with amazing teachers like Saul David Ray, Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruikshank, Darren Main and Gwen Lawrence. Buy your tickets before midnight on June 30 and you can get an early bird Devotion Pass for only $199!