Soul Love Fest: A Blissful Break From The City
By Jade Kwiatkowski
When I found out that I would be attending this festival, I was nothing short of ecstatic. Even more exciting, I got to bring my best friend and fellow yogi Savannah with me.
I had never gone to any type of yoga festival in the Chicago land area. We pulled up to the venue, Arranmore Farm and Polo Club, and I was totally shocked by the beauty before me! How could such a hidden gem be only forty minutes away from where I live? The emerald green grass stretched as far as I could see. There were tents and stages set up on one end, and a long white fence housing gorgeous horses on the other. I have grown up in Illinois all of my life and never seen such a beautiful venue.
We got our schedules and wristbands and decided to have a look around while we looked over our class options. We opted for a meditation at 9a.m. as our first event. With a bit of time before our class began, we could not help but to go and pet the horses. There is something about being in the presence of such amazing animals. It is so calming. Looking around the grounds and feeling the cool crisp air… it was a perfect taste of the beginning of fall in the Midwest.
Our meditation class was called Yin and Yoga Guided Meditation led by Lorna Samatas. It was unlike any meditation class I had attended before. Lorna began our class by telling the story of Indiana Jones. She talked about how in one of the movies, Indiana was stuck at the edge a cliff and he could not go back, only forward. He jumped and was caught by a canopy of trees below him that he could not see before he jumped. She had us sitting on our knees with our feet tucked under us, which quickly became uncomfortable. We slowly moved through different poses that first were uncomfortable, but moving through the poses and releasing them felt amazing. Through her story telling, she explained how important it is to take a leap of faith even though it may feel scary. What an important reminder for me and for everyone. Sometimes it is terrifying to step out of our comfort zone, but that is when we blossom the most. I absolutely needed to hear those words. We must trust when we fall that the net will appear. Sometimes the net has been there all along, even if we could not see it before.
We left Lorna’s class feeling rejuvenated. We then took the time to explore the festival before our yoga class. Colorful booths lined the entire festival with goodies that every yogi would love! We tasted yummy Kombucha (my favorite being spiced apple) and enjoyed the blissful retreat from a day away from the city and off from school.
The yoga class we chose was a detox style class, which is one of my favorite styles. Every time I take a detox class, I feel like I am a clean slate. I could not wait to sweat out some toxins.
Kelsey Patel was full of life from the second we entered the class. Before we even started practicing, she had us think of a word that we were feeling. The first word that came to my mind was “relaxed.” It may sound obvious, but I cannot explain how serene the beautiful setting of the day was for me. Kelsey told us to focus on that word as we went through our motions. We started with some slow flows to get our bodies warm, and then worked our way up to tougher poses with a fitness vibe. Her ab sequence was a killer! Even though many parts of the class were tough, I kept in mind how relaxed I felt, recalling my word set at the beginning of class. She explained that the reason we were going from a low heart rate to a high heart rate was to prepare us for when that happens in our everyday lives. This was so insightful to me. In life we are constantly faced with difficult obstacles, even if they are small. It made perfect sense to me that we need to train our bodies to deal with the rise and fall of our heart rate. This is so important in order to gracefully let go of anger and frustration. By the end of class we were all dripping in sweat and I felt revived.
Driving back to Chicago – I felt thankful to have had the opportunity to attend such a lovely festival. I felt ready to face my week with an open mind. What a special opportunity it was for me to take the time to unwind from my daily life in the city.
I loved what founders Darcie Purcell and Susan Marzano wrote about Soul Love Fest. It truly encompassed everything I experienced at the fest.
“We believe there are more of us out there and wanted to create a space to pause, reconnect and nourish the soul and meet people wherever they are on their journey. Thank you for being a part of bringing our dream to life. Here’s to BIG lives, being scared and doing it anyway. We see you.”