Last weekend I attended my very first yoga festival. My friend Kaidi was going and she nicely suggested I could join her and her friend Kristina, to share a tent as well as some fun. I then jumped on a train at Paddington station and traveled to Stonehouse, in the english fancy countryside.
I arrived there on Saturday, right before lunch. The festival had started the day before. I first had a look around in order to discover all the different spaces; fitness, yoga, meditation, food/drinks, spa and the various stands - before deciding what I'd do. There were 3 yoga spaces, one of them was a heated and closed tipi. But the temperature was so hot in there that they quickly stopped the heat. An 'Equinox' space - fitness only, an 2 spaces for meditation, discussions and even anatomy classes. At the center, Flying fantastic team had erected a rig where they attached aerial hoops, aerial silks and aerial slings.
There was so much to do on Saturday afternoon: unfortunately all the Flyin Fantastic classes were already booked - you had to book your spot first thing in the morning - but the heated tipi seemed to host quite a few nice yoga classes: Dharma Mittra yoga with Ambra Vallo, Acroyogadance yoga with Eugene and Pip, and finally Mandala flow with Katarina Rayburn.
Ambra's classes are always very technical. She's such in control of her body that she can make shapes you can't even think possible. I had never attended a Dharma Mittra class before but knowing Ambra, I was expecting something very intense and advanced. Indeed, despite the large choice of possible modifications and variations, the most advanced postures required quite a strong level of flexibility and strength.
I had already attended a couple of acro yoga classes, but never with Acroyogadance. It's indeed more of a choreography sync with music - a dance - than the other acro yoga classes I had so far. However, before managing to look graceful, one have to manage to hold the postures and transitions...
I had already tried aMandala flow last year and I didn't really like it as it's a 360 kind of flow and I have some issues with rotations because of my knee (I have a ligament torn). Mandala flow is based on the 4 elements and each element correspond to a Chakra. It's a very fluid and intuitive flow. To be honest I really like the concept of it. My only issue with it is about the rotations; if you don't have any issue with this I really recommend this type of flow.
In the evening, we had a good shower before going to diner then have a drink at the bar. The food - vegetarian - was delicious and varied. The night went on with a DJ playing in one of the yoga spaces. The atmosphere was great; good energy and kind people. We stayed for about an hour before going to bed.
Given the amount of classes I attended on Saturday plus the fact that I slept in a tent, I can tell you that my Sunday had to be chilled out! However I really wanted to try aerial hoop, and my favourite acro ladies were teaching a handstand workshop that I didn't want to miss. After a wonderful breakfast (organic granola, coconut yogurt, fresh berries), I attended an anatomy class (for my yoga teacher training) then at 10am I booked my aerial hoop class.
I absolutely LOVED it. I'm already sure I'll go back! It's difficult, slightly scary at first and sometimes painful but it's also so satisfying. Even if it's nothing like yoga, having a strong yet flexible body is definitely helping for this activity. I still have to improve quite a lot in order to gracefully get on the hoop, but I managed to do a few postures fairly quickly.
London acro ladies
I’m a fan of these 2 ladies Sylvia and Katie. I’ve attended their acro yoga class at Indaba yoga a few times now and I love how they teach things, step by step, one transition at a time. Not only are they very good teachers but they also reassure and empower their students and make them feel wonderful. If you’ve always wanted to try acro yoga but you’re not sure how to do it or if you can do it - just attend one of their classes; not only will you learn how to do it, you’ll also enjoy yourself for 2hours.
I was quite sad to leave this festival. It was my very first yoga festival and I didn’t really know what to expect. Well, it’s pretty simple; I’ve met kind and joyful people - what else could you expect from your fellow yogi(ni)s, really - delicious food, mindful teachers and skilled musicians. All of this wrapped in a wonderful positive energy.