The Magic Of Connection
By Pennie Nichols
Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, Asheville, NC, is believed to be intersected by three ley lines. Ley lines create an invisible energetic grid that blanket our globe. At these intersections, they form an energetic vortex that both activates and attracts energy. These electromagnetic vortices are powerful conduits of energy that assist with healing, transformation, and enlightenment. Therefore, it is not surprising that mystics and seekers from all over the world are drawn to this magical city. What a perfect setting for Asheville Yoga Festival!
Year 2 of Asheville Yoga Festival packed a big punch with over 50 presenters and musicians. With venues all over the city, the festival’s 1400+ participants were encouraged to explore Asheville and the surrounding area. Some participants had the incredible fortune to join local vortex guide Deanne Hampton for tours exploring these sacred sites of vortex energies. Deanne believes we are inextricably connected to Mother Earth - as She changes, we change, and vice versa. This connection to Earth mirrors our connection to Self and to each other.
This seemed to be a common thread woven through the festival: we are all connected and our impact on both local and global communities is great and important. Amanda Hale and Sara Levine LaStella are the founders of Asheville Yoga Festival, and they chose to name their business “Love, Shine, Play, LLC.” Amanda explains: “LOVE refers to the importance of love of self first, love of others, and love for Mother Earth. SHINE refers to the call to each of us to do our duty, to serve in the unique way we are called to serve, to shine our little light.” And PLAY reminds us to not take life so seriously, to get outdoors and have some fun.
Throughout the festival, there were many free community offerings of Yoga and music. As one participant said, “I’m so thankful that the festival is offering classes to the community - I am here on my lunch break.” When asked about these incredible offerings to the community, Amanda had this to say: “Sara and I place a high value on inclusivity and accessibility - Yoga is for everyone. Even if you were not able to attend the entirety of the festival, we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to experience some of the magic and connection that happened all weekend long. We were excited to offer over 20 free activities during the weekend including community Yoga classes, live music including a Michael Franti appearance, bucket beats drum circle, acro Yoga jams/demos, teacher meet & greets and sponsor demos. Our entire Mountain Air Market full of 70+ beautiful vendors, tasty healthy food, hoopers, slacklines and more was also all open the public. Booths in the market such as the Dr. Hauschka booth with mini-facials and the free mini massages offered by Asheville School of Massage & Yoga were welcome reminders of the importance of self-love, by caring for ourselves we are better capable of caring for others.”
Friday afternoon, we were gifted a free community asana practice led by Carrington Jackson reminding the community that we are stronger together. Immediately following class, Michael Franti shared an acoustic set and his message of love and peace. In his new song, “Flower in the Gun”, he speaks to the power we each have to heal ourselves and heal the world.
Each year, Amanda and Sara have chosen to end the festival by fostering our connection to Mother Earth with a river clean up. “One way to (SHINE our light and serve) is to be good stewards of the Earth. We love that (one of our presenters) Chelsey Korus has this same calling. She has stayed an additional day the past two years to participate in a river clean up in conjunction with Asheville Greenworks. We get down and dirty, pulling all sorts of debris from the beautiful French Broad River. We love ending the festival with a service project and call to action.”
A BIG THANKS goes out to all of the souls involved in making this year’s festival pure magic, with a special thanks to founders Amanda and Sara for manifesting their vision. Go ahead and mark your calendars for next year’s event: July 25-28, 2019. You are going to want to make this one of your yearly pilgrimages. Until then, remember to #LOVESHINEPLAY.
To learn more about Asheville Yoga Festival visit AshevilleYogaFestival.com.