If you find your mind wandering off to the mountains or the rainforest during Savasana, maybe it’s time for a vacation. Why not take your yoga on the road by vacationing at one of these three awesome yoga festivals?
Whether you’re looking for inspiration to revitalize your practice, a way to meet like-minded yogi, or a chance to see the world through yoga, there’s no better way to experience the richness of a wellness-centered lifestyle than to take part in one of these incredible festivals.
The Bali Spirit Festival
Going on its 8th year in March 2015, the Bali Spirit Festival just might be the Ultimate Yoga Experience. Set in the lush tropical jungles of Bali, this five-day event keeps you living in the moment with its array of healing and meditation workshops, Balinese dance classes, group art activities, and, of course, tons of yoga led by some of the world’s best teachers.
What makes this festival so special is its emphasis on the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, or the three causes of well-being: harmony with people, with nature, and with God. This festival promotes Tri Hita Karana through yoga and world dance, all while giving back to the community with its Karma initiative, which has raised US$65,000 to fund health clinics, promote arts education in Bali, and support the BaliGreen reforestation project.
The Bali Spirit Festival was also named the 6th best music festival in Asia thanks to its One World One Stage concert series. As if you needed any more reason to book your flight to Bali, once the festival ends on the Nyepi holiday, you can visit Bali’s incredible Hindu temples and sunbathe at some of the world’s best beaches!
Wanderlust Yoga Festivals
If Bali isn’t in your neck of the woods, Wanderlust’s yoga festivals--which are located in various scenic locations in North America—host some of the best yoga teachers in the world. Wanderlust festivals feature workshops in just about every style of yoga you can imagine -- including Aerial Yoga suspended from fabric hammocks, and AcroYoga, which teaches yogis to “fly” with each other using the soles of their feet to lift a partner into a Superman-like asana.
In addition to the endless varieties of yoga, no Wanderlust festival would be complete without the Kula Market, where vendors sell everything from hand-made jewelry to organic produce. With all that yoga and post-yoga dancing you’ll be doing (did I mention Wanderlust concerts feature famous acts like Common and Ziggy Marley?), it’s important to keep your energy up.
The Wanderlust Food Co-Op features vendors who provide affordable fare made from wholesome local ingredients. If you don’t have four whole days to spare, you can still experience the invigorating group yoga sessions and Kula Market goodies at one of Wanderlust’s six hour Yoga in the City events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
International Yoga Festival
Looking to connect with your spiritual side? The International Yoga Festival is ideal for yogis seeking to deepen the spiritual element of their practice. This festival, which focuses on the eight limbs of yoga, is hosted in Rishikesh, India—a town known as “the birthplace of yoga.”
Nestled along the banks of the River Ganges in the Himalayan foothills, Rishikesh a deeply spiritual place. It’s the starting point for the Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri Hindu Pilgrimages, and even The Beatles came here to connect with the divine; much of the White Album was written during their stay here at Mahirishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram.
While you won’t find rock concerts or organically-raised meat here—this Hindu town is strictly vegetarian—this week-long festival offers 60 hours of workshops taught by masters in both traditional and Western yoga lineages. Devotional rituals like Ganga Aarti, meditation sessions, and satsangs led by some of India’s most revered spiritual leaders allow attendees to explore their connection between the self and the divine. Rishikesh’s International Yoga Festival offers a truly authentic yoga experience that you literally can’t find anywhere else on the planet.
The word “yoga” means “union” in Sanskrit: union between your mind, body, and spirit, sure, but also between yourself and all the beings in the universe. Going to festivals like these and practicing alongside hundreds of other yogis--all of whom will be doing the same asana while breathing your same breath--is a great way to experience the sense of union that is the very essence of yoga.