Yoga Festival Packing Checklist: Top Ten Things to Bring!

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 10, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

Overall, yoga is all about union: you know, fitting in.

1. Wear Feather Earrings or hair extensions that come from abused chickens and whose faddishness is adversely effecting fisherman (who are often the best environmentalists among us). Feathers in your hair say “hippie” about as eloquently as driving an SUV to your yoga class does.

Photo of Hanuman Festival, Boulder, Colorado.

2. Practice your favorite Spiritual Materialism Catch-Phrases. Jai Hanuman! Namaste! No need to know what it means, so long as you say it enthusiastically—as if you were saying “Fuck Yeah!” Bone up on your spiritual treefort password lingo (you don’t need to know what these terms mean, but make sure you pepper them throughout your normal watercooler talk): namaste, efficacy, peace, love, open up, resonating, what else?

I’m a bit weak on this one, please leave comment below with other good terms.

3. Pack really tight pants that show off your yoga butt. Yoga is all about lookin’ hot: do your best to look the part of your chosen hippie sorority. Extra points: ridiculous flare at bottom of your yoga pants is optional.

If you’re a guy, make sure you have a spiritual tat: yoga chicks dig sensitive tough guys with mysterious back stories and rock hard, shaved chests.

Photo: Brad Coy.

4. Practice your “Naropa Hug,” a term I coined (I get 5% whenever it appears in print).

Step one: stare into one another’s eyes, touch your heart and shake your head silently.
Step two: approach respectfully, while mentally making plans for f*cking later that night.
Step Three: Hug. Do not Pat on Back. Commit. Holllld. Hug tight, but gently.
Step Four and this is key: keep your eyes closed while hugging.
Step Five: keep hugging.

5. Don’t keep it Real—keep it Happy. Whoever is loudest and happiest, they’re cool. Go be with them and do as they do, or you’ll be lonely, awkward, vulnerable.

6. Pack a few Sir Richard’s condoms, and try to get laid. You’ll fail—getting laid is only for the really cool people, or the really desperate people, and as usual you’re right in between, living a safe, fake, boring life. So much for your big getaway weekend.

7. Go up to every yoga teacher after class: see and be seen. Say how wonderful they are and how they touched your heart—doesn’t matter what, unless you’re hot, they won’t care…this is simply about being seen talking to the teacher, and the teacher being seen having a big long receiving line. Yoga #selfie time!

8. Spend $1,000 bucks, give or take, for a total of maybe five yoga classes over three days. No, this is not a good deal, even if your parents forget they’re also footing the bill for a motel with your friend and plane fare and food and cab rides.

9. Get lots of overly plastic-packaged samples that you can throw away. Hurting the environment with packages labeled “coconut” or “natural” is so awesomely ironic, it’d be funny, but humor isn’t encouraged at these conferences: happiness is.

Tadasana Festival in Santa Monica

Photo: longtime elephriend Carl Kerridge of longtime elephriend Katie Armstrong of ecofashion line Om Collection (see below).

10. The only real requirement is that you’re to be absolutely wonderfully joyfully exuberantly positive about everything. Do NOT be negative ever! Suppress genuine-ness or integrity or truly open heart in favor of business, making money, PR, marketing, hype, and happy facebook posts on your and their Walls after the fact.

Remember: yoga is an industry, a demographic—and not merely a spiritual path or a way of life. Grow up.

Relephant Bonus: elephant’s hometown favorite, The Om Collection.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


41 Responses to “Yoga Festival Packing Checklist: Top Ten Things to Bring!”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Christine Baker: ‎7th grade all over again.

  2. This is a great list of reasons why I love the Flagstaff Yoga Festival, because its a festival for the rest of us!

  3. vivian araullo says:

    lol! so true. especially that cloying saccharine attitude, item #10. as if yoga turns people into stepford wives, and that includes the men.

  4. Stepford Yogis! bahaha! But seriously…

  5. Roger Wolsey says:


  6. Krista says:

    Errrr….I hope it is not like that 🙁 I am going to a festival in a few months! I mostly practice by myself so haven’t been exposed to this whole “thing” yet.

  7. Dearbhla says:

    Hilarious! More buzz words/terms:
    sacred space

  8. Stewart J. Lawrence says:

    Bummer, can’t make it this year. Promised I’d help with the spider money vivisection experiment in the lab that weekend. Give my regards to Hanuman.

    But I did have some favorite catch-phrases —

    “Step into grace.” (even if it’s brown and gooey, and smells rather ominously like dog shit).

    “I’m working on being mindful.” (actually, someone needs to mind ME because I may do something bat-sht crazy)

    “It must be your dharma” (Or your raging fucking ego, either way,I’m steering clear of it)

    “I need to honor these feelings” (No you don’t, you need to stop acting like such an asshole)

    “You’re so present.” (I can’t seem to get rid of you)

    “Your handstand rocks!” (Wow, I got to check out your entire body)

    “What would John Friend say?” (this was grand-fathered in, in case someone’s been offline the past 6 months)

  9. Mamaste says:

    Perfect! Stewart mind if I add them to my vocab?
    I need to honor these feelings.

  10. donald says:

    possibly the best post yet!

  11. cathy says:

    This stinks!

  12. elephantjournal says:

    co-create – classic, 1 point
    sacred space – 1 point
    healing – 2 points, use it rampantly ie "this spirulina is so healing"
    intention – 2 points, use it allll the time
    spiraling – 5 points for proper use in a sentence, only for advanced users.

  13. elephantjournal says:

    Namaste, Stewart. Your comment cracked me up—I know humor is less valued in the yoga community than the aping of deeply felt spirituality, but…namaste, motherf*****r.

  14. elephantjournal says:


  15. yogasamurai says:

    You go, Mama! BTW — your name is quite clever. Somebody I know came up with Namastay-away – which I thought was funny…..

  16. yogasamurai says:

    Simian vibes my Brother!

  17. Mamaste says:

    TY YogaSamurai…
    Yes, they do say I am quite clever, among other things 😉

  18. elephantjournal says:

    Don't get me wrong: festivals are amazing opportunities to study with a range of amazing yoga teachers, and meet amazing mindful eco companies, and have fun, and meet new people…it's well possible to swim below the surface, where most of the silliness happens.

  19. jaigurudevaom says:

    I like how the one comment by someone who seems somehow offended by the above farticle and subsequent commentary doesn't or can't really back it up with any relevant commentary of their own that may help people see things differently. Thanks for contributing.

  20. Jenn says:

    Thanks for putting it so well, as always!

  21. what I always dislike about these lists is that it somehow demeans everyone…so every truly happy person that uses any of what you have termed "catch phrases" and genuinely knows what that mean…for every person that really does want to connect with a teacher… for every person that feels healed or moved or enjoys the connection this "making fun of it" sort of ruins it for everyone doesn't it??? it just feels so full of assumption and it feels a wee bit ugly…maybe I'm just naive but couldn't we move past high school and not tear people down? and/or presume what their experience is? If you see people that you presume aren't genuine just don't hang out with them…I don't know it feels too much like the mean girls to me…:(
    So now if I go to festival and I say namaste are you going to assume I'm a poser? if I'm at a festival and I'm goddamn freakin happy the whole time I'm there (;cause it;s vacation) am I faking it? Not sure how "mindful" this makes any of us — oh sorry not sure what other word to use didn't mean to use a catch phrase…

  22. Alex says:

    Don't let the weirdo's get in the way of being weird. If you find your festival to be transformative (buzz word 2 points )and you co-create (1point) a sacred space (1point) and say namaste (.25points) to others, know that your glow is something that people want, they may become jealous and do what the jealous do to feel better about themselves. Either way, be, and let be, as the only concern should be within yourself. Go enjoy yourselves at festivals, enlarge your circle with joy and happiness and bring that love back home. Home to your small circle to help spread the goodness all our communities need.

  23. cathywaveyoga says:

    thank you
    you said i tmuch better than my words," this stinks"

  24. […] Yoga Festival Packing Checklist: Top Ten Things to Bring. […]

  25. Kathy says:

    So funny I was crying but also a big fat bummer that the majority become yoga sheep and become worshippers. Student, then Apprentice, then Journeyman comes Waaaay before Master folks.

  26. […] {Click for more tips on what to pack for your journey… ~ Ed} […]

  27. Heather says:

    "Remember: yoga is an industry, a demographic—and not merely a spiritual path or a way of life. Grow up."

    Thanks for the laugh.

  28. Wow says:

    Let's get snide. Let's lash out at a community we were flash drawn to. Noone practices the real, true , pure, authentic yoga like we do right?? Its catchy and popular we must focus on what divide us..that whole "union" part of yoga. What of it!? Just get on the freaking mat! Everything else works itself out. This article is a disgruntled brat tearing apart something that grew bigger than the grassroots experience that made them feel part of something "special" and exclusive" Throwing a tantrum when it evolves, changes shape and takes on varied meanings for others.Or the sufer shouting "Local Only!". Only purists welcome. Maybe the author needs a time out to reflect on what's really pissing them off.

  29. CaitlinArce says:

    While I relate to the article in some ways (like the points about environmentalism,) I've got to say, I love your attitude. "Just get on the freaking mat! Everything else works itself out." I hope you continue to share this point of view. Of course, everyone is at their own place on a journey. I've struggled with being in the skeptic role myself, so I can appreciate the point of view of this article.

  30. DaveTelf says:

    I find this level of cynicism to be quite boring. The Naropa hug is funny, but the rest of the list seems snide, bitter. Doesn't feel light-hearted and fun. Reads as judgmental, condescending and all too serious. Attacking a crowd that, aside from some notable exceptions, doesn't take itself that seriously, and if you're paying attention, actually has a lot to offer. I agree with the comments above re: high school humor. It's like making fun of the theater kids, not realizing they're having the time of their lives.

    I sense a distinct lack of real Love behind these "jokes." You haven't been to Hanuman for two years now. What do you know about what it's like there? Your Om Collection shout-out rings hollow because you spend the whole article insulting the people and culture who are most drawn to Katie's (awesome) clothing. The allusion to trust-funders also seems off-base, and again, bitterly presumptive.

    Not my favorite post Way. I usually like your critique's, but I think you missed the mark here.

  31. elephantjournal says:

    Kristine B: Laughed my ass off!! . Lighten up people!!

  32. elephantjournal says:

    Hmmm. If you want to go serious, I can go there with you, but I find humor leavens criticism, which otherwise goes unread and unfelt. Obviously, you felt.

    I haven't been to Hanuman for a reason, and it's not my reason. You know the reasons, I believe. It's 2 minutes by bike from my house, and I haven't been there. You want to go serious? I don't think so.

    I write the truth, once in awhile, and folks, like yourself, go defensive. The above isn't the truth–its seriousness, as you peceptively note, leavened by humor (that you don't find funny).

    As A Few Good Men offers: "You want the truth!? You can't handle the truth!" Unless, of course, the same truths above arre offered by a famous yoga teacher, as I just reminded you at Wanderlust Festival, two days ago. Which doesn't rub me the wrong way, for many reasons.

    Then, you listen.

    The difference between making fun of the hula hoopin' lying the grass listening to house drinking wine buying stuff packaged in plastic crowd and making fun of the theater crowd (both groups of which I've been a guilty member, in my day) is that the theater crowd was never "cool."

    Watch word to the wise: don't be cool. As Kerouac observed, burn. Burn with life.

    PS: read up on prajna. Judgment is natural, necessary, and helpful on the path. Being funny all the time isn't necessary. Caring is. I'm not your monkey, and I don't dance for your change.

  33. Mrs_D says:

    We all 'see' what we are looking for

  34. Mrs_d says:

    Thank you for writing this. It seemed mean and I was glad I wasn't alone in finding it so.

  35. Mrs_d says:

    Cathy, I thought it was written in a mean way also. I've been practicing for 15 years and love the transformation it's had in my life. I do, however, on occasion… my SUV to my local studio. I'm so glad to be accepted in my yoga community nonetheless. Take care 🙂

  36. Kim says:

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …. you said it !!!!

  37. Mireille says:

    Its very sad, this article, it reflects the emptiness, the lack of compassion,a "door closed" …hitting a wall, and it does reflect of the quality of the mind of the author, i think there is a lack of fire, of engagement and passion, a lack of openess from the heart. he seems to try to diminish the organisers, the teachers invited, and the crowd that is making the event, the transformational power, the union, the joy. usualy when someone is trying to put others "down" is a sighn that they feel intimidated. just say'in maybe the author feels abit intimidated to open his heart to the "strange crowd" . it makes me sad to realise that there are these kind of thoughts running in people's mind about the yoga community. but haters gonna hate. so let's do Yoga as if nobody was watching 😉 ! Bright day to yall *im a french lady, that's why im doing many spelling mistakes.

  38. Martha says:

    LOL!!! So true…..hahahahahahahahaha

  39. Martha says:

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! so true!

  40. Martha says:

    ""You're so present." (I can't seem to get rid of you)"

    hahahahahahahah the best!