06 Dec Shakti Fest 2015: Day 1
By Bernadette Ignacio
Eager, smiling faces of yogis from around the world—young and old—arrived at Shakti Ma’s front door. Our prayers for drier conditions were granted by the Goddesses, as the expected morning rain missed us by just a few miles.
Full of gratitude, we lit a sacred Puja fire to spark the magical weekend ahead. Bhakti brother Kailas facilitated the opening ceremony. Offerings of sweet incense, fresh flowers, a chalice of sacred waters from the Ganga River, and a pair of maha murtihs—Maa Swarasati and Lord Ganesha—blessed us with a clear path to divine inspiration.
We chanted the many names of Shakti, honoring our motherly protectors in all aspects of life. Along with the fire we burned rice, every grain representing that which does not serve our highest self.
With spirits cleansed and lifted from Puja, we charged into the first full day of classes, workshops, and kirtan. Yoga ranged from intensely dynamic with Erika Burkhalter and Kristen Olsen, to uplifting with Kia Miller and playful yet powerful with Hemalyaa and Lara Catone. Jennica Mills wrapped up asana practice with a graceful sunset session.
The workshop halls offered colorful layers of wisdom. Carolyn Hauser taught how to ignite strong feminine power in life with a highlight on work and career, while Heather Parr showed us the power of being a “love magnet” through positive attraction.
Michael Thomas Robinson engaged participants in “Bhakti Yoga: The Path to Peace and Abundance”, focusing on teachings from legendary masters about how to cultivate a bountiful life. Divine Harmony introduced the cosmic archetypes in their many phases, and how they’ll impact 2015 with a lesson in classic Western astrology.
Nourishing GoMacro Bars were just the right fix for light bites between yoga classes. Health Ade Kombucha kept us alert and bubbly into the late afternoon, while the company’s comfy tea lounge kept us cozied into the early evening.
On the Main Stage, evocative sounds played by Kalakar, and the hypnotic hang drum of Masood Ali Khan deeply stirred souls in the crowd. Ananda Rasa then followed, who seamlessly fuses Sanskrit chants with sweet dub reggae and raga beats. The high vibes of Larisa Stow and the Shakti Tribe lit up our energy thereafter with her electric vocals and raw devotional sound.
To close the first night, a troupe of rapturous talent took to the stage. Conscious power couple Dj Drez and Marti Nikko blessed us with bass-filled world beats spun by Drez, while Marti’s velvety voice sweetly sang the sutras from their recently released album, Dreaming in Sanskrit. MC Zair Black flowed a river of divine rhymes, later joined by Kiyoshi who free-styled heart expanding lyrics on the fly.
As a whole we bumped and pulsed kicking up midnight desert dust ‘till it was time to tuck in for another day in Shakti paradise.