When most of us hear the word “festival,” we think of loud music, glitter, and partying well past sunset. I am a big fan of said type of festival; however, there are a plethora of others to explore. In 2016, I heard about the London Wellbeing Festival via the events page for one of my favorite spiritual teachers. She was going to be hosting a few workshops, so I made the small pilgrimage two hours east to The Big Smoke.
When I got there, I was wowed by the atmosphere. I had a fantastic time and knew in that moment that I would certainly be back the following year.
Fast forward a year and I’ve only just recently come back from this year’s 40-year-anniversary special. It was incredible, and I’ll never forget my experience. We started our day with an introduction to Jivamukti yoga. Steph Knight’s soothing presence and palo santo treatment was the perfect way to start the day. We then grabbed vegan curry from one of the many food stalls on offer and planted ourselves by the free stage. So, the deal with this festival is that you pay a small fee for your entry and then pay for any workshops individually on top of that. There is a free stage, though, where many of those hosting workshops over the weekend give a 30-minute taster of what their workshop has to offer. In theory, you could just pay your entry fee, take your own lunch, and sit by the free stage all day! You need not pay hundreds of pounds to have an enriching experience.
Post-lunch, we spent a couple hours taking in the free stage acts. There was music, kundalini chanting, dancing, and many other wonderful sights to be seen. Following this, we wandered around the stalls, picking up essential oils, crystals, vegan & cruelty-free beauty, and drooling over all the artwork and Hay House books that we wanted to buy.
We finished up the day with another workshop. My friend took a whack at acroyoga, and I opted for some time with the sensational Sarah Rozenthuler in a workshop titled, “Living Your Heart’s Desire.” This was the real highlight of the day for me. Twenty women who started as completed strangers ended the workshop a couple hours later as best friends. We partnered up and challenged ourselves with all kinds of exercises to really get in touch with what inspired and mattered to us. Speaking authentically to a stranger is one of the most refreshing experiences; no small talk, no people-pleasing. I left feeling alive, passionate, and inspired.
There are many different festivals just like this one around the world. While music festivals are undoubtedly an excellent way to spend your time and money, perhaps you’ll want to consider one of these for a heart-warming and uplifting experience to enjoy with a special friend or two.
- Envision Festival, Costa Rica This tropical paradise plays host to a festival of eco-consciousness every February, with the aim of inspiring attendees through yoga, music, dance, permaculture, eco-building, and community. A festival unlike any other, set up to show people what intentional community is capable of. A great place to discover new health benefits, try fun workouts, and network with like-minded souls, Envision is one of those festivals that I cannot WAIT to get myself to!
- Green Man, WalesIf there’s ever a drive that will take your breath away, it’s cruising through the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Here is also where you’ll find Green Man Festival every August. Sure, it has the music aspect of many other festivals, but the Nature Nurture corner, tucked away from it all, is where restoration can be found. Yoga, pilates, qualified therapists, and a range of holistic treatments–this is where to live well. Or, if thought-provoking debate is more your thing, try Einstein’s Garden where you can walk, talk, and contemplate life.
- Wanderlust, Various LocationsIn various locations around the world, Wanderlust is a no-stress day festival for those who love everything fitness. From running to meditation and yoga, have a day of fun in the sun; just you and your lycra. This past weekend’s events took place in both Chicago & Portland. Keep it on your radar for next year!
- Byron Spirit Festival, AustraliaEssentially, everyone I know who has backpacked the East Coast of Australia says they get to Byron Bay and pretty much forget about everything else. It’s just that kind of place. I never left the rainforests of the north because they were just too mesmerizing, but that’s a whole other story. The Byron Spirit Festival has yoga classes (of course), mantra, tantra, meditation, and more. It’s a place of holistic wellness on one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. Ignite the fire within and immerse yourself in this place of total serenity and bliss.
- Bali Spirit Festival, Indonesia It seems one of the things all these festivals have in common is the beautiful backdrop against which we can be revitalized. Beautiful Bali hosts yoga, dance, and music in this ultimate retreat. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and hear the birdsong, the rustle of the leaves, and the many other tropical sounds of nirvana.
So maybe you’re planning a dream vacation somewhere beautiful? Why not consider tying in one of these events or one of the thousands of others around the globe to make your trip extra special. Lying on a beach sure can be relaxing, but why not take it one step further and make your trip life-changing?
Where are you headed this year? Planning any retreats?
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