SpiritFest Africa was held over the weekend of 22nd March 2013 to 24th March 2013 at Lievland Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
It was a festival of Yoga, dance, meditation, yoga shopping and yoga living! The turnout was excellent with people of all ages, singles, couples, families and children, staying for the full weekend camping out on the estate grounds and those just visiting for a day of Yoga and fun. The schedule was packed with classes and activities catered for adults and kids. All forms of Yoga were offered throughout the weekend from Iynegar, Ashtanga, Yin Yoga, Kundalini and Vinyasa Flow, Kids Yoga as well as meditation, Nia dance, Feldenkrais and drumming.
Vendors of Yoga clothing, accessories, equipment, jewellery, CDs, books, inspirational material, massage, henna tattoos and other yoga trinkets were on site to provide further entertainment and necessities to add to the Yoga vibe and overall experience.
It was my first SpiritFest Africa experience and camping one too! So I had mixed feelings of excitement, anticipation and nerves solely for the camping side of it all. I come from a family background that did not experience camping in the outdoors in the rugged style it is meant, so as a mature adult, (no longer in her prime twenties, or thirties….uh, yes, where was I…?!), and used to her comfort zone, I decided to challenge the camping venture as a personal quest to overcome the unknown, to let go of imposed fears of camping and to make the absolute best of it! This affirmation thankfully made far more reassuring with the comforting words of a fellow yogi, “Embrace the stars and sky as your shelter!” Thanks Jim! Yes, of course I survived, albeit with very little sleep, but to be expected when not knowing what to expect and being out of one’s norm.
I experienced the weekend as both a vendor and a yogini as I assisted Nina of Yoga Awakening Africa at the YAA stand, which was a ton of fun! Thank you Nina and to all the lovely ladies around us that made the “working” experience so entertaining and best of all the feeling of trust amongst us was awesome and mutually appreciated. A hug of gratitude to Lucinda of Yoga Shmoga, Anu and Greg of Billy the Bee, Michelle of Pretzel Yoga, Chris of Anatomical Heart, Priya and the team from Art of Living, the sweetest lady from Tibetan Tea House and all other neighbours for sharing with us!
I decided to limit the number of yoga sessions in a day to a maximum of 2 because I was assisting as a vendor and I also did not want to feel broken come Monday morning due to too much Yoga as I had to teach throughout the day, so I decided to go easy on myself. I promised myself that next SpiritFest, I’ll be enjoying more of what the schedule offers to gain more of an active yogi perspective than an observer. However from what I did experience, it was BLISS! The feeling of sharing, of laughter, of experiencing a different teacher and / or style from what one is routine to in a normal week and the sense of just being was truly special! I felt a complete sense of freedom, peacefulness and joy from my yoga session experiences!
Do I have some complaint about the event overall? Well, more like constructive criticism and my only negative comment about the logistics of the festival was the ablution setup. For my own personal experience and my opinion, the ablution facilities were too few for the number of people who attended the event. Not just for the adults but more so for the many children who were there that had to walk a distance, if on the one side of the dam, to the other in order to get to the mobile toilets. Understandably as Nina pointed out, there may be a water system logistic that needed to be taken into account; however I think more thought or planning should be given to the ablution factor for future reference.
I do believe that SpiritFest is a perfect opportunity to understand what it means to be part of a Yoga community. After all that is what Yoga is about, the union or yoking together of people who live and love Yoga! This festival is the right platform to showcase this notion and to have so much fun reconnecting with fellow yogis, friends and to make new friendships that will carry OM for quite some time!
Thank you to every single person who made my experience so beautiful, so rich and rewarding in so many different ways, I am truly grateful!
Until we meet again at SpiritFest Africa 2014.
Yours in Yoga,
Juanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, the last one through Ananda Kutir Ashram and has been teaching Yoga since January 2007. firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.yogamala.co.za or www.facebook.com/YogaMalaCapeTown