It’s the Spiritual Woodstock of our time and less than a 75 minute drive from anywhere in the Coachella Valley. The Shakti Festival, A Celebration of the Divine Feminine during Mother’s Day weekend at the beautiful Joshua Tree Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, California. This festival was yet another success. Yoga and music enthusiast from around the country gathered for a three-day celebration of the Divine woman. Some of the world’s most renowned Yoga instructors and Kirtan musicians alike celebrated and presented their talents. This synergetic and very much alive and loving event boasts talent. It’s an event that also celebrates devotion through chanting, meditation and prayer, teachings and workshops, and offers a wellness sanctuary: massage, bodywork, energy work, intuitive readings and more.

Celebrated Yoga instructors such as Shiva Rea, Sara Ivanhoe, Saul David Raye, Kia Miller, Sean Johnson, Hemalayaa, Tommy Rosen and many more were in the line-up of classes with music. Our own Yoga Diva, Kristen Olsen, Owner of Urban Yoga in Palm Springs was also teaching as she does every year for Shakti and Bhakti Fest. The music is some of the best Kirtan you will ever experience. Soothing to the soul yet invigorating. Artist such as: Jai Uttal, Durga Das & Mira, C.C. White, and many more to include 40 plus hours of Kirtan. The food was delicious. Included were a wide variety of flavorful snacks and entrees for everyone. Fresh coconuts cracked on the spot filled with ice-cold coconut water. Also to include, fresh smoothies, gluten free snacks, Vegan pizza, Greek dishes, a coffee bar, a water filling station, and stylish clothing plus jewelry vendors. The event was also child friendly. It was a joy to observe children participating in the Yoga and music classes. In addition to children being accepted into every aspect of the event, there was also a designated children’s arts and crafts tent.

Sara Ivanhoe, a thriving Yoga instructor of 17 years and known throughout the country tells me the Bhakti/Shakti Festivals is a favorite. Ivanhoe is inspired by her parents and says, “My parents have taught and shared with me unconditional love. You don’t always get that from both parents.” Ivanhoe’s Yoga Guru, Amma, is also her inspiration. At nine-years-old Ivanhoe began meditating. By 14-years-old she began her Yoga practice.
Upon graduating from college, Yoga was her beckoning and a natural for Ivanhoe.

Artist, Leraine Hortsmanshoff, plays the Didjeridoo and is a Yoga enthusiast. The didjeridoo is a wind instrument sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet. Hortsmanshoff traveled from Salt Lake City, Utah to play with other musicians. She says, “The energy, the flow, the people, and atmosphere keeps me coming back.” This was Hortsmanshoff’s second spring event and loves the Bhakti Festival as well.

Among the Yoga and Kirtan music one of my favorites was Hula Hooping. Also known as Hooping. Hoop Girl, Christabel Zamor, led a 2-hour hula hooping class. It’s fun, great exercise, and everyone can participate. This was inspired by fun and funky rhythms. The room was inundated with “hoopers” age 4 – to – 70-years-old.

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As a Yoga instructor, music enthusiast, and an inspiring hooper, this event deserves credible recognition for sharing Yoga with our community. Event Founders Sridhar Silberfein (Executive Producer) and Mukti Silberfein (Producer) will present the Bhakti Festival, September 6-9 ~ 2012, in Joshua Tree. September is also National Yoga Month and a great way to celebrate your practice. If you missed the Shakti Fest you have an additional chance to participate in this premier festival. Visit: www.bhaktifest.com for more information.

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