February 8, 2012

Updated Again!: Yoga Rocks the Butte. [Live Blog]

As I start to write this, it is 20 minutes after 11 pm on Tuesday. I don’t leave for the weekend in Crested Butte until Thursday morning, but I’m already scrambling to get ready.

Every entrepreneur knows that getting outta town for 5 days — even for a working weekend — is at best a little bit tricky, and definitely demands excellent advance planning. Organization is something of a weakness for me, meaning that to organize others to occupy my roles while I’m missing can be exceedingly complex.

But this is all totally okay and entirely beside the point. I am, as the kids say, super stoked to attend this event:

The intention of Yoga Rocks the Butte is to raise the collective vibration in our local and global communities as well as the hearts of all!

We are devoted to spreading the message of Neem Karoli Baba, “Love everyone. Serve everyone. Remember God.”

We spread this message through the instruments of yoga, music, dance, meditation, global awareness/activism, and celebration with kula, our sacred community of friends on this sacred path.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Yoga World Reach, a Colorado 501(c)3, “organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, more specifically to perform the following”:

• to research and practice ways that yoga, meditation, and alternative therapies can inclusively serve the local and global communities.

• to educate and empower Yoga Teachers to inclusively serve the local and global communities, via our Yoga Seva School, and provide yoga outreach in third world countries.

• to co-create yoga programs for correctional facilities, crisis prevention centers, women’s shelters, schools, health care facilities and practitioners, rehabilitation centers, homeless shelters, and those with special needs.

First, though, full disclosure: I am the Brand Ambassador for a company called Crystal River Organics. We make NudeFood. This is why I get to go to the event. Please forgive in advance any shameless promotion of the most delicious nutrition products ever. Unfortunately, mentions of nutrient-dense food will inevitably arise as I bring you the inside scoop on what all the cool kids are doing in Crested Butte. Sorry.

Cool kids include, but are in no way limited to: Shiva Rea, Dave Stringer, Twee Merrigan, R.R. Shakti, Micheline Berry, Shannon Paige and of course, Monica Mesa, the Founder of Butte-based Yoga for the Peaceful, and the Director of the festival.

My itinerary involves 7 am forums on the Harmonic Convergence of 2012, and the 13-moon, or Earth Calender. I have afternoons practicing yoga nidra with Sara Ivanhoe, and “yin kirtan magical bliss” with Govindas & Radha. Sunday holds morning sadhana, followed by a class called “Seasonal Harmony and Flow with Ayurveda.” !!! In between all that, I’ll have Icelantics to ride, and NudeFood to peddle.

I will do my best to document the finer moments of the festival, to share for all to see and live vicariously. Do I sense any interest in how my sales visit at the grocery store goes? Anyone curious about the logistics governing summer-time distribution of temperature-sensitive items? No, thought not. Moving on…

I’ve got a rented SUV waiting for me at the airport, since my elder Saab struggles to escape from parking spots in the snow, nevermind maneuvering mountain passes. Serendipitously, it seems DJ Drez and Joey Lugassy need a ride from DIA that same day. Perfect, no problem.

So… this should be fun. Please check back for updates throughout the weekend. If you’re going to the festival, what are you most looking forward to?

UPDATE: Wednesday, 5:24 pm

Today’s mantra: There is time for everything.

In the midst of our apparently crumbling reality, our experience of time (or, at least, mine) is undergoing some rather drastic fluctuations. I’m talking about minutes that last for hours; days that pass in seconds. And somehow it all happens at the exact same time.

In reference to karma yoga, Swami Sitaramananda often asks yogis to “tune,” “attune,” or to be “tuning in” to the flow of life at the ashram, and thereby simply know what needs doing and do it, without having to be asked.

What Yeats said — “Things fall apart” — is truer than ever. However, simultaneously, the reverse is equally and increasingly true: things fall into place. When actively attuned, often enough it all comes together, and everything opens up.

All I’m saying is, yesterday two small tasks were insurmountable. Then today, everything is effortless; nothing cannot be accomplished. Clearly yesterday wasn’t ready. Today saw that ball dropped, picked it up and ran with it.

The question is, can today ever run into tomorrow?

UPDATE: Friday, 2/10/12, 11:35 pm

Now that was a day…

Kicked off with Gustavo and his glorious lady Paula leading an initiation ceremony of sorts, welcoming us to the festival and to “Timeship Earth,” where to believe is to create (“Creer es crear.”) and we here in the biosphere must soon break through the technosphere and begin to inhabit the noosphere more regularly.

half-way down Twister, at Mt. Crested Butte

I made several sales calls before going skiing. The beauty of sales is that, not counting the endless hours of preparation, it doesn’t take very long.

The snow was so-so; about as average as the above photograph. Almost-enough snow too-groomed made my rather fat Icelantic Shamans chatter too much for comfort. Still fun though.

In the afternoon, Christopher Tompkins used his Sanskrit expertise to school us in the universally vibrational nature of reality. Along the way, he exposed a major oversight in the common pronunciation of the seed syllable Aum. As it turns out, the third sound is also a vowel, NOT an “m”. Instead, it is an open sound, properly made with the top of one’s mouth, and is like a lively bee-hive. Wild! But I like it. Feels true.

Then I indulged in Yoga Nidra with Sarah Ivanhoe. Initially, the room was raucous with glowing women in giddy conversation. Sarah took her seat in complete silence and everyone knew it was time to begin.

Sweet sweet pranayam made way for the most gentle asana possible, leading into a series of long hip openers. More and more exhilarating rounds of cyclical breathing followed, until it was time for an extended savasana, with Sarah’s voice our lucid guide.

Elevations Hotel is the primary site of the festival. Their many amenities include hot tub and steam rooms. For this I am thoroughly grateful.

By then it was 7 pm and the music began. Gong and cymbal-based sound healing set the foundation for Govindas & Radha to lead kirtan. For the first time, “Siva siva siva shambho…” struck me as a sad song.

The dance party really started when DJ Drez got on stage with Joey Lugassy and three other stellar musicians (tablas, an acoustic and an electric guitar). They laid down a funky blend of beat-heavy mantra-songs. Micheline Berry facilitated the whole flow, interspersing appropriate pauses for breath and reflection.

After a final savasana — this one set to a stunning soundscape — suddenly it was almost midnight. Right now it’s just after 1 am. I have class with Gustavo again at 7. Then we do the whole thing over again.

I will leave you with this act of poi, performed by the local magic hooligans:

UPDATE: 02/12/2012 23:45

Checking in from The Talk of the Town on the one and only Elk Street.

Current events first:

I grabbed my jacket and ran to the Crested Butte Center for the Arts fast as I could soon as I heard Greensky Bluegrass was on stage.

The video above is of an (as far as I know) unnamed jam coming out of a masterfully unique When I Paint My Masterpiece cover. Please excuse the extremely limited ability of an iPhone 3Gs to cleanly pick up every intricacy. If this song has a name, I’d be honored to know it. (Please comment!).

Spoke with Anders Beck (playing the dobro, closest to the camera) briefly after the show. Gist is: be at Telluride Bluegrass.

Okay but, before this. I left off early Saturday morning. Therefore it is there I will begin.

I cannot briefly describe the effect Paula and Gustavo Ochoa had on me this weekend. I was drawn to them Thursday night, almost immediately upon arrival. I’d signed up for their classes in advance, with little to no prior knowledge of their style of existence outside the Titles of the classes.

The 13 Moon, 28-day calendar is a new standard of time for all people everywhere who desire a genuinely new world. If the calendar and time we follow is irregular, artificial and mechanized, so becomes our mind. As is our mind, so our world becomes, as is our world today: irregular, artificial and mechanized. But if the calendar we follow is harmonic and in tune with natural cycles, so also will our mind become, and so we may return to a way of life more spiritual and in harmony with nature. The 13 Moon calendar synchronizes solar and galactic cycles on July 26 correlating with the star Sirius. Each of the 13 moons has a power, action and quality which define an annual program to synchronize our consciousness with the galactic cycles.

The 7 AM Saturday class was a detailed introduction barely scratching the surface of this 13-moon calender; a continuation of an initiation into natural time. I learned that I am a Solar Dragon, here in this birth to begin magnificent projects and struggle to learn how to see them to completion (nothing I didn’t already know…). I came into possession of a synchronistic almanac that requests of me the purchase of colored pencils. I am unspeakably eager to oblige.

Paula and Gustavo won their airfare to the festival in a contest. Want to talk about existing in the natural flow of time/space? To me, these two show a path toward spontaneous perfection.

Gustavo on several occasions spoke of his intent to allow the noosphere to teach through him. As we drove down the mountain today, towards their gorgeous, gratis guesthouse, I offered compassion for the amount of energy required to be teaching at all times. Gustavo replied with a story about a shaman-teacher of his, from Guatemala, who is so thoroughly adept at aligning himself with Source that his apparently endless exertions in service of his students in fact energize him, far from draining any strength.

A true fact of magic.

I will speak more on this subject in a later post. For now, I’ll simply post a video I’ve yet to carefully review, but believe whole-heartedly to be most beautiful.

The above scene is the very finale of Yoga Rocks the Butte Closing Ceremony, featuring a spectacular cast on stage, including: Dave Stringer, Steve Gold, Govindas, and a collection of other magnificent musicians I’m embarrassed not to be able to name. (Journalistic research, coming soon!)…

Plus! the miraculous individuals creating the gladly dancing crowd, including but in no way limited to: Monica Mesa, Sarah Darval, Jenna Sheely, and again, I wish I knew every contributor’s name so as to shout them out in all 6 directions, but there were an astonishing number of karma yogi’s whose devotion made the weekend arise and subside with such overwhelming grace.

Unspeakable thanks are due. Please, listen for gratitude unspoken.

Okay time to go. Check back tomorrow for more from yesterday and today.

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