Shakti: the great divine feminine mother. Every Spring Shaktifest puts on a magical and unforgettable gathering in Joshua Tree. The first day started for us with a Kundalini class led by Kia Miller. Her radiant spirit is a shining example of the Ma and was quite infectious. The class had a lot of breath of fire, which started to ignite the tejas (the burning flame of intelligence) in me that had been dampened by some grief I had been unpacking. The class ended in a Shiva Nataraj dance where we were dancing on the ashes of destruction, symbolizing 'out with the old'. After, we journeyed on to take Saul David Raye's class. A sweet and gentle soul who embodies a healthy mix of masculine and feminine, he encouraged us to drink in the soma and appreciate the Ma in all her forms, especially the earth. Although this is no new news to a seasoned yogini, the more I return to this practice the deeper these teachings resonate.
The most potent class for me was led by a man named Michael Brian Baker. He led a breath workshop class called Chop Wood-Carry Water. His approach was rooted in the Ketchwa tribe. His advice about life was simple and deeply grounding. He said ‘if you want to receive, you need to let go…’ Through this workshop we cleaned out our energetic closet. It was a transformative experience.
The last day I went to Shiva Rea. I have sat with her many times before and a lot of my other teachers have also sat with her closely. Her lineage is one that is well respected. She taught us the way she likes to practice abhyanga (an ayurvedic practice that involves massaging the body with warm oil). A beautiful self care ritual. We sat in a circle with about 400 yogi's and yogini's and practiced massaging each other. With her humor and love for the practice it re-awakened within me the thoughts about how I approach my self care. How can we really love ourselves? When we align with our intentions and love ourselves completely, there is no need for something external. Sure, my desire and longing for my life partner are still there, but I reached a new level of loving myself at Shaktifest deeper than I had ever felt before.
Shakti Fest + Bhakti Fest website: www.bhaktifest.com.