Shakti Fest 2019: Embracing Change
“Every time we transcend old patterns and discover a new dimension to life we are birthing a new reality." - Kia Miller
By Jennifer Goodman
As yogis we practice going with the flow of life, embracing change, and finding peace in the unknown.
I found myself resisting this change of Shakti Fest moving to a new location, but I had to go and check it out. Though the location proved to be quite different, it was still Shakti Fest at its core.
Still within the familiar grounds of Joshua Tree, this location provided a beautiful landscape of mountains in all directions, I found this to be a very nice addition. Separating the festival from the campgrounds was a pond full of ducks and lush greenery and trees which added a nice element of nature to the otherwise desert campgrounds. Many yogis took time to sit by the pond to meditate, read, watch the sunset, or just have quiet time alone or with another. In addition to waking up to birds chirping we also had ducks quacking, this brought a smile to my face each morning. Surrounding the pond were vendors, healing tents, meditation areas, the sanctuary, and many other little zen nooks and crannies to nestle in.
Shakti Fest also did a fantastic job creating the layout and ambiance within the festival. Something very different was having two stages side by side, which at 1st seemed uncomfortable since we couldn’t just camp out at the main stage but had to keep alternating and shifting between the stages. Like anything new, we found the groove in this and adapted. This also proved to be more efficient in keeping the flow of music, not having to wait for one artist to clear before the next could set up. As soon as one artist was done on one stage the next artist was ready to go on the other stage. Surrounding the two stages were all the food booths and many more vendors as well. This created a somewhat enclosed and circular shape to this area which gave it a more intimate feel and kept you connected to the music and artists performing while eating, shopping, or socializing. One of my favorite additions was the ecstatic lounge, which was slightly removed from the main areas and offered a quieter space to lounge in when not in use.
Another significant change was having all the yoga classes and workshops in one area as well. At first this was challenging for me because if you were in one class or workshop you could hear the other class or workshop going on next door. Initially I found this very distracting, but I began to accept the situation and began to enjoy hearing another class while I was in a different one. Since I always wish I could attend classes that were going on at the same time, this enabled me to do so. As I was in Dharma Devi’s divine feminine workshop I could hear the beautiful voice of Radha singing while Govindas was teaching their Bhakti Yoga class. While I was in Lisa Gniady’s kundalini class I could hear the ethereal shamanic sounds coming from Michael Brian Baker’s Breath Center workshop. It also made it easier to jump from one class or workshop to the next and attend more! As I continued to accept all these changes and shift my perspective, I began to see the positive and beauty in what was initially uncomfortable for me. I also recognized that this was also a good practice on tuning in more and tuning out distractions, the ultimate meditation and state of present awareness.
I enjoyed all the classes and music I experienced at the fest and wish that I could list them all. One of my highlights this year was starting each day with an early morning class with Kia Miller. Beginning the day with Kia's presence, Kundalini Yoga, live music and a tent full of people looking to reach a higher state of consciousness, put me in a high vibe state first thing. I also enjoyed spending an afternoon with Mirabai Devi, opening up our hearts and receiving a powerful group healing, which was a new experience for me this year. And as far as music, I loved everyone - but listening to Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda, as well as Govindas and Radha - were as always my favorite.
A huge plus at this location was the showers and bathrooms! There were many more real bathrooms and indoor and outdoor showers for all the campers to use.
What I found this year, was that Shakti Fest in its new location was still Shakti Fest. It had the same high level of teachers, presenters, artists, musicians, and healers. And most importantly, Shakti Fest still had the heart, devotion, passion, and bhav. We all left full of love, lessons, growth, transformation, healing, and a feeling of bliss deep in our souls.