"Attending a kundalini yoga festival for the first time is one of the best weird things you can do for yourself."
"I wanna go to that! So what is it exactly?" I've heard this exact thing from several people over the last few years, including once today.
Let me start by saying this was my 4th year in a row attending a Sat Nam Fest. Now that I've done it a few times I feel like I know enough to share my perspective.
Sat Nam Fest is unlike any other festival I've attended. It's a kundalini yoga and mantra music festival that lasts 5 days filled with kundalini yoga classes and music performances. It's a drug and alcohol-free event. (There was one CBD vendor this year... edgy)
People tent, RV, rent dorms, and commute from off-site.
Spirit Voyage is a Kundalini Yoga music record label and online kundalini yoga resource.
Spirit Voyage's team, its music artists, and affiliated kundalini yoga teachers come together for this 5-day event once per year on the West coast (Malibu Creek State Park, formerly Joshua Tree Retreat Center) on the East coast, (Berkshires) and on a beach in Mexico.
Attendees are kundalini yoga enthusiasts, instructors, mantra music fans, and attendance seems to reach the 1,000-mark on Friday and Saturday, though I haven't seen any specific data on attendance and tend to overestimate crowd size.
The event started at 2pm on Wednesday and ended at 2 PM on Sunday.
This year I decided to do a volunteer partial-exchange so I could be more involved and get more exposure to people involved with the event. Even though I've made a lot of really strong friendships in previous years, I'm usually left wanting to be even more connected to the people in the kundalini yoga community. To desired effect, I got to know so many more people this year than in previous years because I was there for the whole 5 days and had so much more contact with people.
I was on the video team. We filmed classes and concerts throughout the event. I really lucked out and was scheduled to film the night concerts with my days completely open to enjoy classes.
"My first year I didn't get a meal pass. What a big mistake."
At Sat Nam Fest you will meet life-long kundalini yogi's, and you will meet people who are about to experience their first kundalini yoga class. I think there were quite a bit of folks who were new to kundalini yoga this year because it was held so close to LA.
My first year I didn't get a meal pass. What a big mistake. The food is a big part of the experience. Not only because it's delicious vegan cuisine but because that's where you have a chance to sit alongside the people of the festival and chat. You will never have an easier conversation. Each year I've met my closest kundalini yoga friends at the dinner table.
Even if you are not hungry, go to each meal because each one is a chance to make a good friend.
Kundalini yoga practitioners are people who are working to better themselves, self-realize, evolve, and serve others at increasing capacities.
Sat Nam Fest is a great space to see how well those characteristics translate across the global community.
This stuff really works! You will know them by their fruits.
High-profile kundalini yoga teachers and trainers teach classes throughout the day.
Krishna Kaur, Guru Singh, Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen, Yogi Amandeep Singh, Jai Dev Singh, Sat Siri, Mahankirn, and Akasha Ellis are all the teachers whose classes I attended this year. All of them have taught at previous Sat Nam Fests. Each has a unique style and perspective. The trait they all share is a deeply realized knowledge of kundalini yoga. Each has decades of personal experience they draw from and I always appreciate the gained insight as much as the spiritual experience that comes with taking one of their kundalini yoga classes.
I realized just how significant are some relationships I've made with people I've met at Sat Nam Fest.
I went out of my way to make connections with as many people as I could this year because I saw just how beautifully previous seeds of simple interactions have bloomed into sweet friendships.
I tip my proverbial hat to Karan Khalsa for her astounding work growing her organization and her leadership coordinating this tremendous festival. What a powerful woman!
“Profoundly purposeful” is an excellent description of Sat Nam Fest and the Spirit Voyage organization.
Attending a kundalini yoga festival for the first time is one of the best weird things you can do for yourself.
And it gets better and better every time. I highly recommend it.
"I went out of my way to make connections... I saw just how beautifully previous seeds of simple interactions have bloomed into sweet friendships."
What I Learned At Sat Nam Fest 2019
Every time I take a kundalini yoga class I keep a journal and pen next to my mat and write down valuable nuggets shared by the teacher. Kundalini yoga classes afford themselves the time for brief lectures on the realms of self-discovery, awareness, metaphysics, spiritual science and the like, and I really appreciate the gained insight.
Here are a few key notes from during Sat Nam Fest taken directly from my journal and edited for comprehension:
Sitting in grass, 10 minutes before initial video team meeting.
Have open mind, no expectations. Enjoy the present moment. Learn from everyone and everything. Write down new information. Be yourself. Give yourself to the moment. You are free. Enjoy lessons. When you feel resistance, look there. Learn, love, enjoy.
As long as I am not being my true self, I will struggle and lack. The me I am at different times in my life when things are easier and more rewarding. The time has come to stop finding myself and just to be my self. Time to give Anthony back to the world. I have to be Anthony in order to be someone who the world can truly see. I will never be seen unless I accept that I, the real I, am what the world needs right now. The world will go to hell all around me unless I be my self. Completely, undoubtedly, indubitably Anthony.
Every exhale is an opportunity to let it go.
Jai Dev’s class in the main tent.
A wider lens gives you a greater depth of field.
Nothing is really a big deal except for death.
Blissfulness is important. Destiny requires it. You can’t rely on willpower to generate your blissfulness because you can’t guarantee you will have willpower when you need it.
Aspirations are determined by your sense of self and your depth of field.
“As the crow flies” is a cool expression.
When you rely on your mind intelligence, you’re always one step behind or away. When you rely on your heart intelligence, you are always ready to answer. Feeling is how you digest emotions.
The gateway to blissfulness is through pain.
We’re learning and training the psyche to experience joy in the most uncomfortable and in pain. Everything underneath is love.
Long Time Sun is a great prayer.
Yogi Amandeep’s class in the main tent.
It’s not about doing, it’s about sitting.
We are always doing and doing and doing and nothing ever happens. Experience this moment as it is. Sit without reference to thoughts. The moment the mind comes in, you are out.
“In the religion of love, there are no believers or no non-believers.” - Rumi
Later that day
Every thought is a form of self-realization.
This is the moment. And I am ready for the moment.
Make everything an act of yoga.
Think and speak with your heart mind first. Let your brain mind be the smart, quiet one who backs you up with logic and information.
“I have finally found a way to live in the presence of the Lord”
My bliss has no brand. My joy is not co-sponsored.
When I serve you, I serve myself. We are one. You are me & I am you. When I serve you, I serve myself. When I love you, I love myself. If I hate my brother, I hate myself. If I curse my sister, I curse myself. I feel about him how I feel about myself. I feel about her how I feel about my self.
Not even once should you do anything that you don’t want to go down in the eternal records of your soul. You are writing your story. But your story thread started at the beginning of time and goes on long after you. And what are you writing into it?
For the rest of time, when ever the great eternal collective consciousness takes a glance at your thread of life, what will it think about what ever bad thing you are about to do right now?
Just like you show up to Sat Nam Fest, show up to everything in life.
And make your life more about showing up to the right place at the right time.