Udaya Festival – A Digital Yoga Platform Goes Live
By Ema Barba
If you’re already making plans for next year, leave room in your calendar for Udaya Live, happening in August 2019!
The Udaya online community allows you to practice Yoga at home, in your own space. The teachers, the music and the variety of sessions are amazing, and then there is the high quality videos! After all, they are produced by the same studio - Nu Boyana Film Studios - that created films like The Expendables 1, 2 and 3, The Black Dahlia and Conan.
It was complete Bliss to see all of this live! We got to meet the fellow Yogis, the teachers from the online platform. We experienced a 5 day Yoga party like no other and we went through joyful healing processes along with 500 people from all over the world, in the pristine town of Pravets, Bulgaria!
There are so many reasons to love this festival, but for us at SF Yoga Mag, on top of the list was practicing Yoga with live music. There’s nothing like an experience created right on the spot. We particularly loved DJ Sol Rising.
We got to experience Power Vinyasa, AcroYoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha, Yin, Restorative, Meditation, and Pranayama from over 50 teachers – talk about fear of missing out! With so many choices, it was a real challenge to pick! Thank goodness for the refreshing smoothies and great food (all included in the price), so we had energy for concerts and parties later in the night … after spending all day in the Yoga classes.
We wanted to know more about Udaya, and lucky for us, we had the opportunity to speak with Cody Christopherson, part of the organizing team of Udaya Live.
What was your personal main joy out of all this?
The main joy was to see come true what we’ve preplanned – its like an image that we’ve drawn, the concept, the building phase... and then when people come and they actually enjoy, that’s the best part – every year it’s better than expected. I’m always amazed at how many classes people take in a day!
I know! It was challenging to take a break. What was your favorite part of the festival?
There are so many things, but always my favorite part is day 1, when everyone shows up and there’s the whole start. Everybody is eager to start the classes. People who have never met before make new relationships and they last through the whole festival and beyond. And then I finally meet people who I talked to online – it’s nice to put faces to names.
From all of the stages, Water Stage is my favorite. The scenery and the fact that it is floating on water makes it so special – you escape everything when you’re in the wilderness.
Why Bulgaria for this festival?
That’s where our production studio is – Nu Boyana, a very famous production studio that produces major blockbuster films – they have a cinematic approach to producing content. This is why this all-inclusive retreat festival also brings the movie magic. The same way we produce our content we produce the festival.
What’s the main challenge in organizing this festival?
It’s really hard to convey how much fun we’re having. Even if we are capturing it using very high quality video equipment, it’s always a challenge to figure out how to tell people that the nature in Bulgaria is so beautiful and pristine, that people are going to become your friends, that every minute of this is just amazing. Especially to people in the United States – because Bulgaria is unknown. But we’re slowly showing people what Bulgaria is and some of the things we have to offer.
What makes Udaya Entertainment so popular?
The high quality of the videos really changes the experience – we’re bringing the walls down and making you feel like you’re in a studo. Also, you can plan your day as you want and not be restricted by a studio schedule. You get to take the class when you want. Though we still think going to a studio is great, you should still be able to create the same experience practicing at home. There’s also live music that accompanies the classes, and that really makes a difference.
What’s the main challenge in building this online platform?
One of the difficult parts is giving people – beginners especially - the confidence that they are going to properly do the poses and the practice. That’s why we give them a visual image of how it’s supposed to look and the teacher tells you how it’s supposed to feel.
We have so much gratitude to all the teachers and musicians at Udaya Live. We will definitely be back next year!