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Looking for something to do this July? We are thrilled yoga festivals are back and can’t wait to check out all the amazing events taking place around the world. This week we had a chance to connect with Vibes, producer of the Sangha Fest in New Mexico who we are thrilled to partner with! You will be able to pick up complimentary copies of our magazine at this festival!
What inspired you to create a festival?
I felt inspired to create this festival last year at the prompting of Robert Holmes, Tico Time’s owner and a good friend of mine, who was seeking to have a more conscious, family friendly, and wellness oriented festival at his event venue. This venue hosts many festivals from Bluegrass to Reggae to EDM, and while many of the festivals offer an atmosphere of community as well as various workshops and intentional classes, none have these elements as their focus.
Sangha means “to bring together,” or more generally, it’s the word for “Community” in both Pali (the original language of Gautama the Buddha) and Sanskrit. The motivation is just this: to come together as a spiritual community for the purpose of prayer, practice and celebration. In my own journey through anger, criminality and addiction in my earlier years, the teachings of the Buddha, the practice and philosophy of yoga and meditation, and the support of a like-minded community were crucial to my recovery and self-development. Early on, long before I got sober, I attended a small yoga festival in New Jersey (where I grew up), called Evolve Fest. At the time I had zero spiritual awareness and I was by far the drunkest individual present, however, it was my first exposure to a gathering of its kind and the seeds were planted that would eventually grow to play a large role in the cultivation of the person that I truly wanted to be.
Today, I am nearly 8 years sober and the practices of awareness and compassion and service are an integral part of my recovery. I believe that gatherings that are centered in humility, prayer, community development, and individual/social wellness can be of great benefit to those who attend, and those benefits can ripple out to many, many more.
What makes your festival unique?
This Festival is unique for many reasons. The first thing that comes to my mind is the venue itself. Tico Time is an RV and camping Park which straddles the Animus River. “Tico Time” refers to the luxurious environment found in Costa Rica and the land has been developed to replicate this atmosphere. It is has multiple ponds with soft sand beaches, tubes and paddle-boards to float on, water slides, zip-lines, a magical forest of tall Cotton Wood trees, a beautiful main-stage decorated in bamboo, with an incredible sound system, and the sacred river Animus flowing right down the center of it all.
Another unique aspect of the festival is that all the proceeds will be going to our venues non-profit, Pura Vida for Good. The mission of this non-profit is to create a Recovery Home in the area to support addicts and alcoholics who need affordable housing and care after primary treatment. The plan is to have a space to house 15-25 residents, complete with group therapy, yoga classes, meditation, job placement support, continued education support, and individual recovery coaching. Also in the plans, is to begin a small farm where the residents can work to pay rent and learn how to grow food. It is a noble vision and we are happy to be contributing to it.
What offering/presenter or class are you most excited about for this year’s event?
Last year we had such an incredible turn out of musical artists, yoga teachers and workshop facilitators including Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band out of New Orleans, Govindas and Radha, DJ Drez and Marti Nikko, international Kundalini yoga teacher, Kia Miller, RR Shakiti out of LA, and Monica Mesa Dasi, plus many many more.
This year we are very excited to have Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band back to headline Saturday night, with female-duo and Colorado band LVDY to open for them. Dianne Bondy, Author of “Yoga for ALL” an international yoga teacher and social justice activist will be there! That is very exciting. Gwen Rebbek from NY/NJ, founder of Yoga4Sobriety will be out to teach about yoga, recovery, and the Chakra System.
We have some other people we are excited about that have yet to confirm…so stay tuned for that!
FB: Sangha Fest