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5 Reasons to go...

Posted on: April 10th, 2017 by Lara Land

Too expensive. That was the main reason to keep me from going to yoga festivals for a long time. I thought, how many classes can one possibly take a day and how can it ever be worth it, spending so much money? I got the chance to answer my questions and review my doubts when I got invited to Yoga Conference Germany in Cologne. The experience reached far beyond the practice of yoga asanas. In those two days I laughed until I cried and I cried until I laughed again. I hugged strangers and became close friends with people I had known from yoga classes for a while but never really connected with. I sweat a whole ocean, I sang, I danced and slept like a baby – and overall I felt inspired, happy and in love with my life.

Yoga festivals are a special and sometimes life changing experience. I cannot wait to check out the numerous yoga festivals of North America: In summertime there is a yoga festival happening almost every weekend in the United States and Canada. These events can be pricey, yes. But they don’t have to be: Almost every festival offers selected classes and side-events for free. Most of them have spots open for volunteers that donate their time to support the festival team in exchange for attending classes for free. So, money considerations shouldn’t necessarily stand in the way.

If you are still not sure about whether a day-long yoga celebration is the right jam for you, here my top 5 reasons to at least give it a try.

 

  1. Relax and Re-new: A yoga festival is an active mini-retreat


If a yoga class can be your mini-break from everyday routines of moving (or mostly not moving) and thinking (or mostly worrying), a yoga festival can be a mini-retreat and your go-to when you need quality-time for and with yourself. You might need time to unwind and relax or space to be inspired and feel alive: Yoga festivals give you both and so much more.

Whether the event is happening in a far away place or right in front of the door: As soon as your feet touch the festival grounds you are entering a completely different world. Everything here is set up to make you feel awesome! Far away from your daily routines and to-do-list(s) all you need is to exhale stress and enjoy the offerings of the program to relax and energize. Yogis are known to be a mostly positive, warm and open community wired to connection, so don’t worry to come along on your own or bring a friend if you can.

 

Summer 2017: Yoga Festivals in the USA

You need a time-out from daily routine and a chance to re-boot your system? You are craving new impulses for your yoga practice and inspiration for your life? You would love to meet a bunch of inspiring people and make new friends? Don’t waste a lifetime: Grab your mat and hop on an intense ride of yoga, meditation and music. 

Shakti Fest
May, 12-14, 2017 in Joshua Tree, CA

SoulFest NYC
May 20, 2017 in Harlem, NY

Downtown Yoga Festival
May 20-21, 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT

Wanderlust
June 9-11, 2017 in Snowshoe, WV
June 22-25, 2017 in Bondville, VT

Nantucket Yoga Festival
July 7-9, 2017 in Nantucket, MA

Telluride Yoga Festival
July 20-23, 2017 in Telluride, CO

Beloved Festival
August 11-14, 2017 in Tidewater, OR

Floyd Yoga Jam

August 31 – September 3, 2017 in Floyd, VA

Bhakti Fest

September 7-11, 2017 in Joshua Tree, CA

 

  1. Learn from masters: Renowned yoga teachers share their personal practices

 

Yoga festivals usually invite the most renowned teachers from all over the world that have dedicated their lives to yoga. Some of them teach traditional Yoga styles like David Williams who was one of the first Western students of Ashtanga founder Pattahbi Jois in Mysore, India. Some teachers created their own yoga style like Dana Trixie Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi (Lotus Flow), Bryan Kest (Power Yoga), David Life and Sharon Gannon (Jivamukti Yoga). Some are known for their physical mastery of yoga poses like the Canadian yoga Goddess Meghan Currey. Others have specialized in the philosophy and mythology of yoga like Alanna Kaivalya.

Where else do we have the opportunity to meet and practice with so many different expert yogis on one day? It is extremely inspiring and motivating to listen to and learn from passionate teachers who live what they are teaching and teach what they are living.

 

  1. Be inspired, stay inspired: Time to explore and discover new sides of YOU


Most of us in everyday life stick to our one or two favourite teachers and beloved routines without hardly ever trying something new. Yoga festivals are a great opportunity to explore new territory: Most yoga festivals offer a wide range of yoga styles and related topics. The die-hard Power Vinyasa Yogi might discover the bliss of Yin Yoga. The serious Ashtangi may fall in love with the playful Acro Yoga. One might explore mindful and fun “sister” disciplines like aerial yoga, thai yoga massage, dance, hula hoop or parcour. The other might find the time and peace to dig into meditation and breathing techniques.

As much as we need certain routines to save energy, the constant drive on auto-pilot, that many of us so easily get trapped into, can eventually make us feel chronically tired or even depressed. A week-end in the vast and colourful yoga-world is opening the door to step out of our comfort zone: Meeting new people and absorbing new ideas can inspire us to a new perspective on our practice and on our life.

 

  1. Unity in Diversity: Meet your tribe and celebrate togetherness


Yoga attracts people of diverse cultural and social backgrounds. While the diversity of the community makes part of its beauty, separating concepts of our mind like age, nationality, gender, religious beliefs or political backgrounds dissolve into a sphere of acknowledgement, yet insignificance when you meet in yoga pants.

Breathing and moving together creates a sense of belonging with others around you and really brings the uniting practice of yoga to the forefront. Being present at a yoga festival allows us to celebrate that fact with other like-minded people, from all over the country or even the world, while celebrating the wonderfulness of the practice itself.

Heading to your first yoga festival? This is what you need to know.

* Best deal: Look for Early Bird Prizes OR apply to be a volunteer: This way you are supporting your favorite yoga festival and get to go to classes for free. Yay!

* First come, first serve: Reserve, if possible, or come to classes early and save your spot: Most workshops, especially those of very popular teachers, will be filled and sold out quickly

* Plan your day ahead: Prepare a schedule with favorite classes and one alternative class. That way you can quickly re-schedule if needed, and you still have enough time to go to a different location.

* Plan wisely: It is best to alternate asana classes with physically less demanding classes like meditation, massage or mantra chanting. That way you are less likely to burn out and can enjoy the practice even more.

* Food and water: Don’t forget to take breaks to eat and digest. Most yoga festivals cater with delicious vegetarian and vegan meals and desserts. Treat yourself – your body needs the nutrients and hey, this is your quality-time, remember?

* Pack list: You might need to bring your own yoga mat as not every festival offers rental mats. Also: Water bottle, towel, enough yoga wear to maybe change during the day and a cardigan or sweater for cosy savasanas, healthy snacks like fruit and nuts, flip flops for changing locations and public bathrooms, tigerbalm for sore muscles, tampons, since the next drugstore might be far, and a personal journal to note down every spontaneous insights you will probably have

* What to expect: Hundreds of happy and gleaming people in pants or shorts. It can be overwhelming at first but don’t shy away: You are one of them. Latest after the first class you will feel it.

* Don’t forget: Unless you are practicing aparigraha, Sanskrit for non-greediness or temperance, you might want to bring some extra cash and extra space in your luggage. There will be some stands with tempting yoga wear, ayurvedic oils, yoga books, malas etc…

 

  1. Wild and free: Wholehearted living outside the comfort zone


It is this open and safe space of acceptance that can open doors you might not have known even existed. Suddenly you catch yourself climbing on a stranger’s body in acro yoga as if you were born to do so (most probably your are). You take the courage to try that handstand off the wall and fail in laughter. You gaze into a fellow student’s eyes in a partner meditation and don’t feel shame for tears running from your own eyes. You sing and dance your heart out at the Kirtan concert and forget that, just a minute ago, “chanting” didn’t seem to be your thing at all.

Words cannot describe sufficiently what exactly makes the seemingly impossible possible. It is a heart opening mixture of intense practice and a supporting and warm community that melts away inner limitations and, beyond fear, (self-) doubts and shame wakes a deeper truth of ourselves: We are full of potential. Our life can be ecstatic and adventurous. We are wild and free.

__________________________________________________________

Melanie Lotz

As teacher and student, Melanie is dedicated to the fluid and creative yoga practice of Laughing Lotus NYC. With a background in Modern and Contemporary Dance, somatic education like the Alexander Technique and Traditional Thai Massage, in her yoga classes the German native combines her love for healthy alignment with her passion to inspire a life full of expression, truth and love. Melanie wants to watch you become the most radiant and happy version of yourself.

You can follow Melanie on
www.melanielotz.com
www.facebook.com/melanielotzyoga/
www.instagram.com/melanielotzyoga/

Harlem EatUp is Back!!!

Posted on: April 26th, 2016 by Lara Land

The Taste is the Ultimate Harlem Grand Tasting event! Enjoy UNLIMITED food from 35 Harlem restaurants plus a large variety of wine, spirits and beer. Your Taste ticket includes access to The Harlem EatUp! Market and the EatUp! MainStage where you can watch cooking demos from Harlem and National Chefs, and much more.

To purchase tickets and use the 20% off code, HEUp2016a4, go to Second Annual Harlem EatUp Festival -… and click on Enter Promotional Code just above the Order Now button!

 Get 20% off tickets for “The Taste” on Saturday or Sunday May 21 and 22 with ourDiscount Code: HEUp2016a4

Why aren’t I positive?...

Posted on: February 6th, 2016 by Lara Land

If you look at the images of yogis strewn across the Internet, you’d have to believe that all yoga practitioners are continuously and exceptionally happy. In fact, it may have been one of the reasons you’ve decided to take up yoga yourself. Yoga has been marketed as a positivity pill and that promise of unbreakable cheer has attracted many to it. The downfall has been an increasingly dangerous pressure on yogis and yoga teachers to cleave to a facade of positivity no matter what the situation. This skin deep display keeps us from experiencing and expressing our real truths that are much more healing and helpful to society than going around simulating bliss.

See the rest of this Huffington Post article HERE.

No Resolutions Please: Why...

Posted on: December 28th, 2015 by Lara Land

Success begets success. Confidence builds upon itself and guides a person toward her dreams. You never want to teach yourself that you don’t do the things you say you will do. You never want to create the story in your subconscious that you lie to yourself, don’t complete your actions, fail. For these reasons it is of maximum importance that you only make promises that you are GUARANTEED to keep, especially those you make to yourself. 

Many people are great at keeping their word when it comes to others, but fail horribly with the stories they tell themselves. The time has come to acknowledge where you have been letting yourself down and make a full stop. No resolutions please. Before you resolve to do a thing this year, you must ask yourself some real questions. One of those is going to be if the thing you are resolving to do is really something you believe in at all. I know your immediate reaction is that ‘of course it is’, but if you have resolved at this change before and failed, you may not be as sure inside of your reasons as you think you are. Any doubts will show up as excuses to quit later. Make sure the changes you are trying to make aren’t just because of outside influence.

To know something isn’t working, you need to feel it deeply. Instead of resolving to start yet another diet this January, just eat as you eat, but more consciously. Notice and sit still in the way you really feel when you overeat. Recognize without shame the way your body and clothing feel when you’ve not taken care of yourself. Be real. This practice of adding consciousness can transform any negative behavior.

When you take the time to feel you’ll know the next and natural step or goal to make in your personal development. That’s when you make it. Declare it if that helps. Write it down. Tell people. Make yourself accountable, but only if you can’t fail. Instead of giving up chocolate totally, give up chocolate on Sundays, or in your home, or when you are eating alone. Make the tiniest step and bask in the glory of your success. Don’t reward yourself with “treats” that counter your goals. Let the feeling of accomplishment be the reward itself. Feel how good it feels to be a person who knows herself and honors herself and is true to her word. Know that by being that person you are teaching your friends and children that’s how they too should behave. You are setting the tone for authenticity and success.

Do mistakes come? Sure. It’s how we handle them that makes all the difference. Brush off any slip up quickly and never use it as an excuse to dump your whole resolve. The better you get at this, the better you’ll be at resolutions, but we’re not making those of course!

For more on training yourself in the habit of success, attend my Train Your Brain workshop this January.

More details HERE.

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