Yoga, Music + Spirituality In The Redwoods: Why You Need To Add OM Rising To Your Festival Lineup Next Year
By Rachel Nichols
Imagine waking up with the early morning light, birds chirping and the sweet sound of OM sweeping through the giant ancient Redwood forest that you are nestled in. That was one of my favorite parts of OM Rising, a new yoga and music gathering that took place at Camp Navarro in Mendocino County in early October. The weekend-long experience felt like being awake in a very sweet dream.
Camp Navarro, just a few hours North of San Francisco, is a hidden gem and the perfect spot for a yoga festival with its more than 200 stunning acres of giant Redwoods that stand alongside the North Fork of the Navarro River. I had actually camped there before more than 20 years ago when I was a Girl Scout, and it was so sweet to return to a place I loved as a child. Practicing yoga and connecting with the greater Northern California yoga community in that special place was magic.
We were lucky enough to set up our tent literally inside a huge old Redwood tree on the property—full credit goes to my partner who scouted out such an awesome location! I kept asking myself all weekend long, “Is this real life?” Waking up inside a tree and rolling out of bed into a yoga class set in nature? Yes! This is real life! No worries, though, if you’re not into tent camping. Cabins and glamping teepees were available to cozy up in as well. I loved that everyone—all 500 of peeps who showed up—could choose the way they wanted to experience the weekend of yoga, music and spirituality in the magical Redwoods.
While I love nature, camping, yoga and dancing, here are a few more reasons why I will definitely be heading back to OM Rising next year.
It’s A Great Place To Meet Your Neighbors And Make New Friends
There are so many amazing yoga festival experiences out there these days that offerup the chance to take classes with big name yoga teachers and meet people from all over the country, which is really exciting; but because people who attend come from all over, it takes more effort to stay connected. At OM Rising, all the attendees, and even teachers, healers and vendors are your neighbors, and I loved that!
Every person that I met and chatted with lived close by—whether in Sonoma or Marin Counties or San Francisco. I loved that I was meeting like-minded people I could actually connect with again outside of the festival beyond texting or social media. It was also nice to try out new local Bay Area teachers and know that I could take more classes with them outside the festival if desired. Peter Walters was a teacher I hadn’t practiced with before and I absolutely loved his classes at OM Rising—they were a great mix of devotion, with humor and tons of fun sprinkled in. I will definitely be looking him up next time I am looking for a yoga class in San Francisco.
Family Farm-To-Table Dinner
OM Rising is the only yoga festival I’ve been to that offered a huge beautiful farm-to-table dinner for all attendees—and it was included in the ticket price! It was so sweet to gather with all 500 people on Saturday night and sit outside at huge communal wood tables and enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal with everyone under strings of lights. The vibes were high. The conversations were flowing. The food was delicious and it was yet another opportunity to meet more friends and neighbors. Almost every person I talked to about the weekend mentioned how much they loved the community dinner and I definitely agreed. After dinner we all got to sing and dance together to Jai Uttal then Saritah outside on the main stage before heading off for some ecstatic dance in the lodge. It was a special and super fun evening.
Discovering Cool New Businesses
Is it cliche to say that if you’re a yogi, you probably also love kombucha? Maybe not all yogis love kombucha, but I definitely do, and one of the discoveries I was really stoked on was Dr Hops, a company that makes Komucha beer—because, yes, I also love beer, especially IPA. The company is based in San Francisco and makes naturally gluten-free beer that is 5-10% alcohol with probiotics. And, it tastes delicious! I also loved their tagline: Good for your belly. Good for your buzz. Dr Hops was pouring samples of all four of their beers one evening, including an IPK, The Lop, The Jackalope and Binky. My fave was the IPK, an IPA-style kombucha beer that was delish!
Another cool company I discovered was Nuevo Sol, an ethical wearable art clothing line produced in the Andean mountains of Ecuador, surrounded by indigenous communities. The prints on their yoga pants are gorgeous, super soft, and you can feel good about wearing them—the purchase supports artists and small family businesses in South America. While the factory is in South America, the woman who runs the project is based in Sonoma County, so there is a local tie here! Pretty awesome!
Take Unique Classes and CBD Workshops
There is a lot of hype around CBD oil these days and I thought it was really cool that Om Rising offered CBD educational classes and experiential offerings. They also partnered with Ellementa, a global network focused on women’s cannabis wellness to lead classes. While I had every intention of attending one of these classes, I unfortunately didn’t make it—being on forest time without any cell service was so freeing that I didn’t stick to my planned schedule, which was nice in its own right, but I was a little bummed I missed it. Founder of OM Rising, Tim Dale, said they got great feedback on the CBD offerings and that they will be bringing it back next year, though, so I will look forward to checking it out then!
See You Next Year!
OM Rising, according Dale, was created with the intention of embracing and focusing on the Northern California yoga scene. That was definitely delivered, and I can’t wait to go back next year. It was unforgettable. While there were so many more amazing things to say about this festival, I will leave it off here as words don’t fully do this magical experience justice. For more information or to sign up for the mailing list to make sure you get the scoop and dates for next year, visit www.omrising.org.