A Powerful Celebration Of The Beloved At Shakti Fest 2017!
By Kelly Krishna Dunn
I didn’t want Shakti Fest 2017 to end, I was having way too much fun. I have so much gratitude for this fabulous three day festival, filled with popular yoga teachers, kirtan musicians, wisdom workshops and so much more. This was a transformational celebration to renew our creativity, to share, to set intentions, to meditate, to forgive, and to listen for guidance. Our pilgrimage to the center graced us with a deeper experience of purposefulness, and our own essential nature.
It was beautiful that we were able to honor the spirit of the universal mother on Mother's Day at Shakti Fest this year. The Joshua Tree Retreat Center is a place where people can be found walking a beautiful labyrinth or visiting a medicine wheel. Two ancient meditation tools of prayer. I love how Native American spirituality is represented in the medicine wheel and symbolizes the individual journey we each must take to find our own path.
One of my favorite moments was in a Kia Miller class with a beautiful mantra meditation, which created a spectacular heart blossoming moment in time and space for us yogi’s to dive into the magic and beauty of life. To make things even more magical, Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda chanted kundalini mantras live throughout the class. This offered a very special journey full of music, mantra, jap, bhajan, original songs and yoga that healed our hearts and made us feel as if we were floating to a new level of loving ourselves.
I was thrilled to catch up with Jaya Lakshmi after Kia Miller’s class! Lakshmi has been sharing kirtan for over 20 years and for the last several years she has partnered with her beloved, Ananda Yogiji. Together they sing and play music that initiates deep healing and opens the heart to divine happiness.
When I asked Lakshmi who her largest influence in the realms of mantra, kirtan and bhakti were, she said it was her connection with the Gaudiya Vaishnavism (also known as Chaitanya Vaishnavism and Hare Krishna). Srila Govinda Maharaj graciously bestowed her the name Jaya Lakshmi which means “victory to the goddess Lakshmi," the Hindu goddess of fortune, abundance, and spiritual wealth. Ananda’s main influence comes from the Kundalini yoga tradition and teachings of Yogi Bhajan. He has studied with many of the great teachers of that lineage.
Checking out Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda's Kirtronica class at Shakti Fest was truly amazing! It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, it was pure magic. Kirtronica is electronic dance music combined with Sanskrit/Indian chanting. To find out more about this couple's incredible work visit jayalakshmiandananda.com.
As Shakti Fest came to an end I found myself relaxing in the Organic India’s Tulsi tea lounge at the main stage absorbing the sacred, balancing and rejuvenating properties of Tulsi while experiencing love and consciousness in action listening to the brilliant Fanna -Fi-Allah Sufi Qawwali (Music of the Mystics). I finished the evening with some delicious Indian cuisine from India Gourmet.
What a powerful celebration of the beloved! I am already looking forward to Bhakti Fest.
To keep in touch with Shakti Fest visit www.shaktifest.bhaktifest.com.