First a story…
I had it all planned. Wake up an 6am, leave by 6.45am, drive the 1h.50m to Yoga Connects Festival and arrive in time for Adam Husler’s 9am workshop. Well, it didn’t quite happen that way. I turned off my 6am alarm, and woke with a start at 7.26am instead. Realising that getting to the 9am class wasn’t going to happen, I set my sights on Dylan Werner’s 11am workshop instead. As long as I left by 8.30am, I’d make it. Plenty of time! Again, not quite. I had hired a Zipcar, London’s car sharing scheme, and went merrily along at 8am to collect it and tried to unlock with my app as per usual. No luck, technical issues. Various phone calls later, and I’ve been assigned a new car. Great! A 20 minute walk away. Not so great. At 8.35am I’m finally on the road, conscious of the time now, as any traffic or delays would risk me missing the second workshop. Then finally the world started to agree with me, and after a smooth drive up to Stanford Hall in Leicestershire, I arrived at Yoga Connects with 15 minutes to spare. That’s when the zen started.
As mentioned in my previous post, the lovely Daniela Olds invited me to check out Yoga Connects Festival, voted one of the best yoga festivals in the world by CodyApp. Set in the grand arena of a stately home, and its surrounding fields, this not-so-little festival had various yoga and music areas, a row of stalls selling everything from food, to yoga clothing and mala beads and even SUP Yoga in the nearby lake.
I arrived just a little bit flustered, I forgot to mention in my epic journey story that on the other side of the field was a motorbike show, which I nearly parked right in the middle of, but managed to find a spot to lay my mat in preparation for one of the most highly anticipated workshops of the day; Dylan Werner. Self proclaimed nomad, internet yoga sensation, and international yoga teacher, Werner took us through a wonderful gentle flow, with deep opening postures, opening and closing with the delightful sounds of the handpan / hang drum. Werner enlisted a couple of friends to guide us through some partner yin yoga, and a meditation. All in all, it was glorious. I left the workshop having chatted to some lovely, friendly yogis, feeling super grateful, calm and so happy to be there.
There was so much on offer, but I was equally happy to sit and watch the world of yogis go by. The one thing I definitely had my eye on however was the SUP Yoga classes, offered by Nichola at SurfSUP Yoga. As I rolled up my leggings, and crawled across the boards to the one that best suited my height, I was grateful that I packed a change of clothes….just in case.
Nichola took us though a very slow flow on the boards, and despite a few wobbles, I stayed dry! It takes a lot of concentration, balance and core strength but I really enjoyed it. I loved being on the water, and it was the perfect day for it. We even tried some more advanced postures for fun at the end, and after a lot of slow steady progress, I got up into a headstand on the board!!
After one final browse around the stalls, I headed back to London, my head feeling a little lighter on my shoulders. The sunshine, fresh air, and friendly, happy vibe of Yoga Connects was the perfect way to end the weekend and begin the week with renewed energy. Those who stayed the whole weekend might not have felt so refreshed, as I heard there was a yoga rave one night, and I’m sure plenty of other campsite antics as well.
Saying that, the whole weekend is family friendly, safe and sustainable too. Visitors were asked to not bring plastic bottles, and everything possible was recycled, in accordance with Yoga Connects pledge to protect the environment. This festival is only going to grow and grow, and I can’t wait to see what’s on offer and who’s teaching next summer!