Sunday, March 15, 2015

My First Yoga Festival: MayFest 2015

I went to my first festival, MayFest Yoga and Music Festival, in May of 2015, with my boyfriend, Tom.  Our first day/night there was all music and vendors.  I felt introverted (a very rare experience for me), but I accepted it.  Through yoga, I have learned to accept the moods, like tides of the ocean.  There are benefits to all moods, as long as you use them with good intention.  That day, we explored the grounds with no real agenda.  We met our “tent neighbors”, who had a 2.5 year old named Marley.  There were very nice and Marley’s free-spirited engagement was a joy to watch.

That night, we watched some great musicians.  In between sets, Tom wanted to take some photos of some amazing hoola-hoopers.  I took the time to delve inside myself.  Although it was “off-limits” (oops), I walked the lakeside beach to a small pier.  I looked out onto the water for a while, noticing the vast contrast between the white moonlight’s reflection and the seemingly black water.  I then closed my eyes and meditated, coming to my center, focusing my intention.  

The next day, I woke up and sang softly to my guitar in my tent.  I was still feeling a bit introverted and I didn't want anyone to hear me.  A few minutes later, the two yogis in the tent next to us left their tent.  They stopped and thanked me for playing, saying it was a treat.  I was embarrassed, yet grateful that they shared their appreciation.  It was touching.  It made me wonder what I was so afraid of. The people here came for yoga, art, and music!  They didn’t come to judge my singing.  I’m sure that most of them were on their own journey, finding an appreciation for the more creative and inspiring things in life.  What better people could I surround myself with?

We had scheduled SUP Yoga for the morning, but it was really cold, so we skipped it.  We went to MC Yogi’s Beastie Yoga Class later, where DJ Drez played all Beastie Boys mixes, while MC Yogi lead the class and his wife, Amanda, assisted.  It was my first class that people who were really into yoga travelled to come to.  It was a bit intimidating, but once I got on my mat, I felt better.  Looking around, I saw the same people that I would go to any yoga studio and see.  There were people of all shapes, genders, ages, and skin types.  Somehow it felt more like a community, even though we were all displaced from our own community environment.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well they conducted class.  It was lighthearted, funny at times, fun, and inspirational.  It encompassed everything I loved about yoga.

We came back to the tent before our next class.  I noticed on my way into our tent that Marley was protesting a nap in our neighbor’s tent.  Upon entering our tent, I saw the guitar and thought about how quickly my daughter falls asleep when I play.  I would play one song and hope I was helping and not disturbing.  I sung loud and with the regular emotion I feel when I sing.  I sang like I do in my living room.  Tom sang with me, which I love.  I really enjoy sharing music.  Later, Marley’s dad was holding him outside the tent.  Without me saying anything about my intention to play, he told me that he enjoyed our playing/singing and that it put Marley right to sleep.  Imagine that.  Abandon fear and you can do anything…even put a two-year-old to sleep who is fighting nap time.

Our next class started with chanting.  I had never chanted anything more than “Om” and once “Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti”.  I had definitely never had a chanting experience like this.  It was beautiful music, hearing everyone sing Sanskrit words together.  The meanings explained to us before to let us feel what we were chanting.  What followed was a yoga class that moved quicker than what I was used to.  The instructor was teaching us to move into the poses on each inhale and each exhale.  It made me dizzy, literally.  I expressed my problem with moving too quickly in yoga moves with Tom.  He pointed out that I have a similar issue with moving too quickly in life, but that sometimes life doesn’t offer us the luxury of waiting around while we analyze, evaluate each decision’s consequences, and make an educated deduction.  Sometimes, we just need to breathe through the changes and flow with them.  I need practice in this.  I was thinking that practicing a quicker Vinyasa Flow will help me to make the connection to being better with a similar issue in life.  

We got something to eat and were buzzing about the Nahko and Medicine for the People (MFTP) show later.  We couldn’t wait, wondered if they arrived yet, if we would get a chance to talk to them, etc.  We decided to get massages: I got a polarity massage, Tom got a Reiki massage, and MC Yogi was right in the middle of us getting a Thai massage (which I thought was pretty cool).  After the massages, we sat on the top of the hill, while MC Yogi sat with his friends at the bottom of the hill.  A little while later, we noticed him talking to Chase, the guitarist from MFTP. 

We were star-struck.  Should we talk to him?  No, we didn’t want to interrupt.  Should we?  I mean, we could keep it short and just tell him how much their music affected us.  No, it would be awkward.  We ended up walking down toward the food carts as Chase did.  He said hi to Tom, noticing his MFTP shirt.  We walked away and we talked about how that was our opening!  I bee-lined it back and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but we just wanted to tell you how much your music has changed our lives.”  What followed was a great conversation and a few hugs.  We met his friend, Geary, who we ended up having several conversations with that night.  They were both so appreciative of our sentiments and such great people.

After charging all our modern technology, we ended up with a drained car battery.  As we tried to turn it on, only to hear the awful clicking of an engine that won’t turn over, we hear from a car behind us our rescuer, Nate.  He jumped our car and after a funny story, a photo to prove to his girlfriend that he was making friends, we ended up walking to the main stage together, all very excited about the Nahko and Medicine for the People show later.  On our way, who do we see?  Nahko Bear.  

Talk about star-struck.  Wow.  This man was a prophet in our eyes.  His words and his music fostered such a change in both of us and in our lives.  We had to stop and talk to him.  Courageous from our positive meeting with Chase, we stopped him and told him how his music and words were our guide through an incredibly emotionally confusing time in our lives.  He stared into my eyes when I spoke.  He listened.  Intently.  He was so gracious and understanding and we took a photo to remember the experience.  I sometimes look at the photo and still marvel that this experience happened.  It was perfection.  Serendipitous.  We cried.  We were washed over with closure.  We were grateful that we were able to personally meet and thank Nahko himself.

We saw Nahko and Medicine for the People play just a few short hours later.  Of course, we stood right up in front.  We were excited and engaged…surrounded by the music that had become a guiding force in our life in the live version.  It was an amazing experience.  After the show, we went to the food carts and met Justin, the drummer in the band.  Is this for real?  The universe provided us the opportunity to meet practically everyone in the band and thank them.  Absolutely amazing.

The next day, reflecting on everything that happened the day before seemed like we were reflecting on a dream that we had over the night.  But it happened because we followed our hearts and made the choice to attend a festival in a place we had never been to and “check it out”.

Live life.  Check things out.  Go places.  You will be surprised at the things that the universe will throw your way.

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