A festival set at the amidst the nutritious air of Ashland, Oregon and the healing waters of Jackson Wellsprings, can be called PRANAFEST. Just the environmental components alone would leave a yogi feeling nourished and revitalized- refueled with Prana.
For its inaugural year, Pranafest put together an ambitious and diverse line up. Top yoga teachers Micheline Berry and Govindas and Rhadha provided a solid foundation, while breath and healing workshops rounded out the offerings.
Friday night, kirtan favorite, Wah! offered a new format, the healing concert. While many of us have spent years dancing to high energy “Hanuman” and “Jai ma!” tracks, Wah! is bringing to the center stage one of her true talents. Born of the original “Savasana” and Savasana 2” releases, the healing concert is meant to be a guided relaxation that uses mantra to soothe and “heal” the body. Wah provided a lullaby to ground all the festival attendees, a much needed, balancing touch.
Saturday afternoon, I spent soaking up the hot springs and teaching a Yoga Nidra class including some yin postures, pranayama and a long Yoga Nidra session. We focused on Samadhi, dissolving the body into the infinite, allowing our individual form to be absorbed by the absolute form. The Ashland yogis needed no convincing of the benefits of letting go, they relaxed easily and rode the wave of prana...
I spent Saturday night exploring the town of Ashland with Donna Delory. After a farm to table meal at Larx Hotel and a quick stop to drink from the fresh Lithium fountains in the town square, we headed back to the festival just in time to catch the end of “The Breath of Life.” Wow! Deepak Ramapriyan and his gang just took off like a rocket. They played in the little “casbah” type space that rocked an intimate but “old school” setting right next to the hot springs and cafe.
Donna and I headed over to the main stage for Jai Uttal playing his Queen of Hearts tracks. The juxtaposition of Kirtan and Reggae is so ecstatic, it just intoxicating. Jai is the ultimate headliner- radiant and joyful. What a treat to see him so devoted to his yoga teacher wife, Nubia Teixteira, giving us all an example of what divine partnership is all about- SITARAM!!!!
Sunday morning I caught the end of my friends Govindas and Radha’s class. As usual- it was slamming! These two have such a smooth flow of highs and lows, movement and stillness infused with Bhakti every step of the way. Again, an inspiring example of divine partnership- RADHEGOVINDA!
My Bhakti Vinyasa class can only be described by the All Star musicians that led the way. Deepak Ramapriyan on violin, Ben Leinbach on drums, Prajna Vieira, a local sitar, harmonium and tabla player (if you folks read this post, please comment and chime in with your names!)- all topped by Donna Delory jumping in for an ecsatic explotion. The intention was to have a sweet savasana song, but none of us could contain ourselves. We danced, we chanted, we hugged, we laughed, we cried and oh, right- we did some yoga.
After class I had to dash off to the airport, but I had just enough time to get a sneak peak at Pragna and Ben doing their solo set on the Casbah stage, playing some songs from their new release Amrita. And it was. Simply sweet- nectar of sound.
A huge nod to promoters Paul Andrews and Janet Marley for putting it together and staying happy and playful. All in all everyone gets a full thumbs up. Pranafest is on its way!
Wed, October 3, 2012
by Sara Ivanhoe filed under