by Bronwyn Ison –

Bhakti Fest 2012 welcomes and shares its fourth season at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, California.  Yoga and Kirtan music enthusiast will assemble for four days to experience some great Yoga classes and music.  Expect to practice Yoga with some of the highest caliber instructors in the country.  You will eagerly anticipate relishing in the finest kirtan music. Wisdom workshops will be in abundance.  Bhakti 2012 is September 6-9 and expects nearly 3500 attendees at this year’s festival.  Attendees are known to come from all over the world to enjoy an incredible Yoga festival.

Founder, Sridhar Silberfein envisioned and committed to producing the spiritual equivalence of Woodstock when he brought Swami Satchidananda to Woodstock. In 1973 Silberfein founded a non-profit organization, The Center for Spiritual Studies.  He created this organization so there would be a united voice for yoga and chanting. Silberfein’s Yoga festival mission was consummated in 2009 and includes three Bhakti Fests: Shakti, Bhakti Festival Midwest, and the original Bhakti Festival at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.  Silberfein’s pursuit as a business man also inspired him to open one of the first health food stores in Southern California.  He also initiated The Desert Essence natural products company and the Triloka recording label.  Needless to say, Silberfein’s goals to create and share with the world have been enacted.

One can expect to practice yoga with some of the greatest and most well respected instructors in the country.  Yoga instructors to include; Sara Ivanhoe, Shiva Rea, Bryan Kest, Hemalayaa, Saul David Raye, and many more. Among some of the great national yoga instructors we can rejoice in our very own and local instructor, Kristen Olsen.  Olsen is the owner of Urban Yoga in Palm Springs.  Olsen will also be teaching at Bhakti 2012.  The kirtan music will be unprecedented. Nationally acclaimed musicians will be performing. Krishna Das, Deva Premal and Miten, WAH, C.C. White, and ascending kirtan musician Donna DeLory are just a few who are among the music line-up.  Some yoga instructors teach to live music.  Often times the instructor will lead you through a short asana practice.  You may find mid-class you are dancing freely and then revisit your yoga practice.  The energy within these classes will heighten and alter your senses naturally and you will feel euphoric.  The yogi’s, instructor(s), and musicians are smiling, laughing, and connecting with one another.  Concerts (without yoga) will be held nightly.  Workshops about pranayama, nutrition, meditation, mudras and mantras will also be ongoing throughout the weekend.  The synergy of the music and yoga is heightened and makes for the perfect elixor, equaling Shanti (a.k.a. bliss).


The Joshua Tree Retreat Center is a perfect setting for a festival of this kind.  The retreat center offers peacefulness, spiritual reconnection, inner reflection, and allows one to decompress. Vegetarian and raw foods vendors will be serving delicious dishes.  Other vendors will include yoga gear, clothing, musical instruments and crafts.  Optional on-site accommodations are offered, RV and camping, and approximately 10 hotels within a few miles of the retreat center.  For a list of performers and instructors visit: (Children 12 and under are FREE)

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