Live from The Hanuman Yoga Festival In Boulder, CO
By Ashley Shires
One of my favorite parts of the Hanuman Festival, in Boulder, Colorado, is trying out diverse styles of yoga and mindfulness movement with amazing instructors - kundalini to acroyoga to ecstatic dance, all in a beautiful setting, right by Boulder Creek. A little-known fact about the festival is that it also has a fantastic line-up of musicians, year after year. This should be no surprise, however, as one of the founders of the festival is Yoshi Aono, former lead guitar player of Accoustic Junction, a band that toured across the country and played at Red Rocks.
This year, the Friday night music lineup at Hanuman features some of my favorite musicians, all performing in the Sunwellness Community Village tent, in the heart of the festival,vibrant with creative energy. It is a truly amazing lineup, starting with Girsh, a kirtan musician with five albums and a book, Music and Mantras, that teaches the art of meditation through music. Girish is warm and personable and his music is transformational, what he calls modern, funky, but deeply devotional.
I have been a fan of Wah, the next musician in the lineup, since I started using her music in my yoga classes as early as 2002. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, and she mixes it with harmonium and dj sets, a fusion of traditional kirtan chanting and ecstatic dance music. I have whole playlists, just with her music, and it is an incredible treat to see her perform live. I had the honor of taking a workshop with her once before, and I love how she infuses stories about the deities and trips to India between chants.
Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda are both amazing kundalini yoga instructors and singer/songwriters. I first heard their transformative music four years ago, at a festival in Joshua Tree, and I have adored them ever since, thrilled that they travel to Boulder to play at the Hanuman Festival. Based out of Oregon, the couple both plays guitar, Jaya Lakshsmi also plays keyboard and Ananda plays bansuri flute. Friday night they transform their devotional acoustic kirtan music into electronic dance music, a heart-pumping experience. At a past Hanuman festival, Jaya Lakshmi said, “The practice reminds me why I am here: to heal and grow, to serve love and celebrate life!”
The music continues on Saturday afternoon, with truly talented local, Amanda Botur. The evening lineup includes Katie Wise and Bhakti Explosion, Govin Das and Radha from Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica, and a dj set with Amber Ryan, who teaches 5Rhythms ecstatic dance. Amber Ryan calls the set, “Tune,” and told SF Yoga Mag, “We will attune to ourselves, through dance, through music, to each other. It’s a celebration of music and community to bond us together, as we drop into the beat, collectively. We’ll be using music as a catalyst into soul, into passion. Music is such a connector. Such a unifer. Such a healer.”
The Hanuman Yoga Festival has done it again, curating a lineup of musical talent that elevates yoga and mindful movement practices to ecstatic new heights.
For more information, check out the Hanuman Festival here: hanumanfestival.com.