Highlights From The Morgan Hill Yoga Festival!

Highlights From The Morgan Hill Yoga Festival!

By M Ryan Saldiver

On Saturday, June 18th The Art of Living hosted the Morgan Hill Yoga Festival. This five hour Yoga festival was a very nice gift to the community of Morgan Hill. Many keynote speakers from the Art of Living group gave short but sweet talks on different aspects of Yoga that go beyond the Asana. Breath and its relationship to deepening the practice, and relaxing the mind into a meditative state was beautifully articulated; while to the right children were being instructed in a Yoga class of their own.

The thought crossed my mind at this time, that teaching the youth to be more mindful of themselves by starting a Yoga practice so early in life is one of the most simple and important
gifts that we can offer them. By beginning a Yoga practice before the age of ten, a developing
Yogi can have the advantage of familiarity to the practice, and many of the details adults struggle to perfect can be simply second nature.

The weather could not have been more accommodating. The day was full of perfect blue skies,
and a very mild breeze. A very mixed group of all levels of Yoga practitioners arrived to learn
from the many lessons being presented from the stage. Mayor Steve Tate arrived to the stage to share words of support to the Yoga community in between the handful of Yoga Teachers that came to share their knowledge of this ancient practice from India that so many Americans now are adopting as their own. Among these teachers were Nick Fortino, Wendy Mosgrove, and Mariko Hirakawa. Every teacher brought their own flavor of Yoga Instruction by exemplifying the aspects of the practice they valued as important.

Mariko Hirakawa came from New York City to be a part of this festival. She has a
particularly special practice of combining the aspects of Ayurveda with Vinyasa Yoga in her style of teaching. I have seen Ayurveda combined with Hatha Yoga before, but this was the first time I had seen somebody combining it with Vinyasa sequencing. Her intention of helping people to live more happy and healthy lives is evident in her use of carefully chosen words while she conducts a Yoga lesson. It is obvious that her study and understanding of Yoga runs deep. I had the opportunity to interview her to learn more about her philosophy of Yoga, and how it can help our modern society to maintain mental and spiritual equilibrium in this technology driven era. Stay tuned to SF Yoga mag for this interview in its entirety soon!

Another special highlight of the festival was a children's dance performance put on by
the Toodayamangalam Shri Krupa Dance company. This group of young girls between the ages
of 6-12 were doing a dance piece called the Bharatanatyam - which is symbolic of the devine
dance of Shiva. The costumes where colorful traditional outfits, and the young ladies captivated the hearts of the audience with a focused and well executed performance.
The festival concluded with an "Ecstatic Kirtan Experience" put on by Sitar player
Deepak Ramapriyam and the Breath of Life Tribe. This ended the event on a note of
celebration, and great happiness. Getting a chance to dance in the sun surrounded by kind and
loving people is a rare opportunity that the Art of Living provided the people of Morgan Hill.

To keep up on all events by the Art of Living Project, you can visit their website at www.artofliving.org. You can also visit www.mhyogafest.com to find out more about the next yoga festival or follow them on Facebook.

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