Wake Up, Rise Up! 3HO Europe - A Festival Of Awakening.
By Ema Barba
This July, Château de Fondjouan, in France, hosted 3000 people for the biggest Kundalini Yoga festival in Europe - 3HO Europe.
Eight days of organic food, sleeping in the woods and cleansing our aura using subtle energy work was what we did to release unneeded low vibration in our bodies to make room for higher vibrations!
With so many people around, one could have felt really alone at times. Fortunately, we engaged in Seva, voluntary work, contributing to the whole experience. Work and fun at the same time, Seva was for us an opportunity to bond and feel a sense of belonging. The sense of big family was reinforced as the music volunteer group walked around singing beautifully, getting us ready for morning Sadhana: "Wake up, rise up, sweet family...”
We wanted to see how Kundalini teachers were experiencing the festival so we asked Felipe Zenicola (Sahib Singh), Kundalini Yoga teacher born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and currently living in Lisbon, Portugal about his experience.
Is this your first time at the 3HO Festival?
Yes and as a Kundalini Yoga teacher, to be part of the European Kundalini Yoga Festival was a very profound, beautiful and important experience, in so many ways.
What was your first impression?
As a first comer, during the first hours after arriving in Château de Fondjouan, I was already exposed to 2000 people from all over the world. This can be really overwhelming to someone who has a more reserved personality like myself. But, after walking around the festival, I started noticing something very interesting. As people would come across you, you could really look into their eyes and have a very quick but deep connection with them, that usually would come with a pleasant smile. It was like they were saying: “I don’t know you, but I’m here open and eager to undress myself from a lot of my masks and ego protections to have an honest and true connection with you." And even if this interaction didn’t evolve to an actual conversation – and sometimes it didn’t - this made me feel part of a community, a warm family. Even by being a stranger among strangers from all over the world, we could feel we were part of a very strong and old Sangha.
Did you have this feeling of togetherness throughout the festival?
It was paradoxical to me that everyone attending the festival was practicing together with another person, or sometimes a dozen, hundreds or thousands of people at the same time, a really collective experience. But as Kundalini Yoga always deals with deep dives inside our inner universe, both known and unknown, one could really have a very personal and individual experience at the same time. Symbolically this makes total sense as our very essence, that in Kundalini Yoga we call Sat Nam, is this small drop that together with all the other drops make the ocean that creates and guides everything. So in the end the collective and individual experiences are only separable and only a paradox to our dualistic minds.
Is there something you would like to see the next time?
To someone who is new to Kundalini Yoga, the festival can be a real challenge and very overwhelming. This is because there is so much specific information, names and rituals that are related to the Kundalini Yoga universe and that are dealt with during the festival. It's not easy to process everything at the same time, especially while practicing. For this I think it would have been interesting to have more activities (workshops for instance) focused on teaching the “basics” of Kundalini Yoga so new people can enjoy it in the best way possible.
What would you say to someone who is skeptical about coming to the festival?
This is a place where the people, the activities, the diet, and the whole festival is capable of transporting us to this parallel dimension, where you can really unplug from our usual mindset. Especially for those who live in big cities, it is a great way to be able to experience a life suspension that is perfect for reflecting upon on our lives. It really is a mind-body-energy clearer and cleaner and a door opener for new possibilities of being.