Tonight I got back from Pranafest, a yoga festival in Ashland, Oregon that’s been happening for 3 years. The festival was based around yoga, kirtan, music, and healing ceremonies, though the music was definitely secondary to the yoga and healing, which was interesting. I got to meet and experience a lot of amazing artists and overall the festival was definitely one that I will attend again. Firstly, the yoga was great. I took two of James Kapicka’s classes which were amazing and a Hanuman based class from April Martin, who was pretty good.
The hot springs were a nice addition to the grounds; they made it possible to shower and clean up easily, which can be very difficult at festivals. The grounds were rather small, but it made for a nice and intimate festival; although, I do think that the festival needs more room. The spaces for practice were simply not big enough; next year I wouldn’t be surprised if they move the location to somewhere bigger.
Ashland is an amazing place. It took the festival from okay to great simply based on the perfect weather and the huge amount of trees that sprawled the mountainsides. The stars were bright in the sky and the food was amazing; Ashland certainly does have a good selection of health food. Nice Cafe is usually at festivals and always has amazing food, their salads are pretty incredible.
The music scene was very interesting. What I mean by this is that the whole Kirtan and chanting scene was a bit weird, but the electronic yoga music and ‘dub-yoga’ were incredibly stimulating and invigorating. But for some reason, they are very disparate right now. I think that there is going to be a major Kirtan movement in combination with electronic music that is coming 5 years down the road; someone just has to figure out a cool way to do it. Jai Uttal was actually pretty boring, though CC White was entertaining and has some great presence on stage. The low toned, monotonous chanting wasn’t very exciting, though I do appreciate that type of group energy in a room where call and repeat chants are done. But just listening to someone else chant is definitely not very interesting to me.
On the other hand, the electronic music was incredible! I was definitely not expecting to have a full blown party at the pranafest, but the last night Shaman’s Dream and Rara Avis took over a stage in a small room, covered with carpets and mirrors and they threw a huge dance party. Rara Avis had music that blew my mind; it made me want to sit and meditate simply to the music. Dub Sutra was also very noteworthy; they recorded a live song while we were in the room listening. The Liquid Fire mantra was great, extremely entertaining and Dakina Rose Devadasi both put on some great shows, both did things that I would have thought impossible for the human body before watching them do them.
It was a really enjoyable trip, got to spend time by myself and really focus on getting to optimal health. I am going to start taking more oil in my water to keep my organs lubricated, which I hadn’t realized can really release internal pressure and keep things flowing smoothly through the digestive tract. Dr Nick hooked me up with some blood orange oil and it made my stomach aches go away, which have been bothering me for month. It was a great opportunity to learn more about healing, to do some yoga and listen to amazing music while camping in some of the most beautiful nature in the world. I will definitely do my best to head back in 2015!