- Oh California Spirit Festival – where do I begin? In the hours that have spanned the end of the festivities yesterday and my first class this morning at 5:45 am my heart has continued to be FULL. Full of my collective experience. Full from every class, every interaction, every drum beat, every movement within my flow, every Om. All of the hard work of every single person behind the scenes. Watching our meditation space and everything around us come to life. The transformation of the Masonic Temple into a private oasis of yoga, music, chanting and dance. Every ounce of love that was expended. All of it such a labor of love! What was created this weekend in Sacramento was EPIC! As Tyler said during the first class on Saturday morning, “love reflected in love.” That is what you proved yourself to be California Spirit Festival.
Sukhbir and Jai-Jagdeesh
Since my first Kundalini experience with Sukhbir, I’ve been forever changed. The practice of Kundalini has always been uncomfortable and challenging for me, but there’s something about Sukhbir’s guidance that makes me want to rush back to it – sinking myself into that uncomfortableness so that I can find what lies on the other side. It was during this first experienced with Kundalini that Sukhbir played Jai-Jagdeesh’s music for us. From the moment I first heard her voice, I was moved. Changed. Transformed. Since that time her music has been the melody of my life, the soundtrack to my transformation. So, you can imagine how excited I was to experience both of them together, live and in person. On Friday night I got that opportunity and it set the tone for what the rest of the weekend would become. Within the majesty of the Grand Ballroom it happened. Light pouring through the window, a gathering of beautiful, open, loving souls being guided by Sukkbir and collectively swept up by the voice of an angel. Along with every other person in that room, I got carried away. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I got carried away. As the sun set and those last rays of sunlight streamed through the window, I got carried away. It was as if I floated above myself, observing every soul in that room dancing weightlessly with me. Jai was our lightness, the calling of the Divine, as Sukhbir was our grounding force – that string that connected our floating soul to our physical form, keeping us connected and setting us free all in the same breathe. Sukbir’s presence, grace and strength lead you through your Kundalini experience with love and encouragement. You don’t want to disappoint her, or yourself. So you lose yourself in each breathe, contracting navel to spine on the exhale – releasing everything that doesn’t serve you – and inhaling the pure, sweet love she exudes. The result is a direct connection to your essence, your truth, your power, your Divine.
Jai Jagdeesh on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jaijagdeesh
Sukhbir Kaur Collins on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sukhystar
Tyler Langdale and Steve Gold
Just sitting knee to knee with all those beautiful yogis watching Tyler take it all in, just glowing, BEAMING with pride and excitement and gratitude would have been enough to make this class complete. As I listened to Tyler speak I felt his honesty, his truth, his AWE in that moment as he just took it all in – seeing his dream become reality. He said, “This is a monumental moment in my life!” and we all felt it. As Tyler got us on our mats and Steve Gold started singing, we moved into our practice and it was obvious that they had a very special connection. Tyler mentioned that “love is reflected in love” and in that moment I had no doubts. I saw it between he and Steve, I felt it radiating from my being, and as I looked around I felt the love of every yogi in that room just beaming right back at me. Tyler, I love your teaching. It is PURE heart. I love your flow. It feels good in my body and even better in my soul. Your teaching and Steve Gold’s music is such a magical combination – I hope you do that again and again and again. As we flowed and sang “Om Namah Shivaya – Shanti” I just couldn’t help but smile. It felt full, and powerful and beautiful – it felt like LOVE.
Tyler led us in the dance and Steve provided the soundtrack, his words just filling us up and expressing perfectly in every moment what we were feeling in your body and our soul.
“Your love shines down on me, in the pure light, so I can see.”
As fluid and powerful as the flow felt, the closing was perfection. All of us returning to the front of the stage, swinging arm in arm, singing, “There is so magnificence in the ocean. Waves are coming in. Waves are coming in.” in unison. Above us the balconies were filled with people, smiling down on our collective sound, our beaming light – reflected back to them perfectly the love that lives within each of their hearts.
Steve Gold Experience: http://www.somuchmagnificence.com/
Steve Gold on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stevegoldmusic
Tyler Langdale on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tyler.langdale
What a beautiful gift to unwrap after the practice with Tyler and Steve! I was riding high on my power flow and singing wave and singing with Orenda allowed me to stay up a little longer. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Orenda perform a couple times before and always enjoy her voice, her sweet energy and her unique sound. I loved her integration of Native American songs into her new music. You can tell by listening to her and watching her that this is something she really connects with and it resonates out to the audience who gets swept up in her sweet lullaby. I felt so blessed to be front and center for her performance, responding to her call as if it was just she and I in the room. And, I just have to say; I fell in LOVE with her drummer. Rita Harrington is THE cutest woman I’ve ever seen rock a set of drum sticks and a pair of Chucks. She had SKILLS and managed to master multiple drums, chimes, symbols and sticks with ease and grace. It was truly awesome to watch it all unfold on the stage. I left that performance feeling SO excited for June 21st when Orenda will perform again at Leap Yoga. What a treat she is!
Orenda Blu: http://orendablu.com/index
Les Leventhal and DJ Nate Spross
My very first Les Leventhal experience had me laughing and smiling for the rest of the day. Les is short is stature but larger than life. He has a HUGE smile and sparkly blue eyes that just draw you in and make you want to ingest anything he’s taking. A complete contrast to the spiritual and heart opening experiences that had become to shape my California Spirit Festival Experience thus far, Les had me laughing at myself, challenging myself and having a really FUN time doing yoga. I got myself into poses I never had before with a huge smile on my face and I loved it! Being partial to house music, Nate Spross complimented Les’s tough flow and infectious humor with a beat that makes you want to shake your hips. It was the perfect soundtrack to the lighthearted flow and I loved the old school 80’s tracks he slipped in. To sum it up, anyone who is moving to Bali, invites me to visit and keeps me laughing and moving through a challenging flow is AWESOME In my book. Bali will never be the same again J
Les Leventhal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/les.leventhal
Yoga with Les: http://yogawithles.com/
Jai-Jagdeesh in Concert
After a joy filled experience with Les and Nate, it was off to see and experience Jai-Jagdeesh once again. This time with my photographer and love by my side, I couldn’t get to the temple room fast enough! I opened the door to a velvet-clad room filled with her. Everything that is HER. Her music, her laughter, her spirit, and her soul invaded every corner of that room and left in its wake a sea of meditating yogis. I took my seat on the creaking velvet bench that lined the far side of the room and took it all in. Jai on her harmonium and Tripp on the tabla drums are perfection. Within moments I was intoxicated. Swept up. Instantly transported from my body to the ethers, the cosmos, the beyond beautiful light that guides me, guides us all. After that experience I posted this note to her on Facebook, “Your voice tonight moved me beyond space and time. Upon returning to my body tears were all I had to express what I had been through. You are an angel. Sat Nam.” I think it captures so perfectly how I felt in those moments, encompassed in her angelic sound, mesmerized by Tripp’s incredible and other worldly talent on the drums. I was drunk on Jai and I had no desire to feel anything other than THAT. To know anything other than THAT. I shared that room with strangers by name, but not my soul. Jai-Jagdeesh has that incredible ability to fuse our souls, to remind us that we are ALL one. Her voice bridges space and time and transports you instantly to a place of light and love. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to be in her presence, to be affected by her music, to experience this beautiful angel with the huge smile and wicked sense of humor. SO grateful.
MC Yogi & DJ Drez
I had the pleasure of meeting MC Yogi and DJ Drez at Wanderlust last year so when I saw they were performing together I was stoked! Their music is a staple in my classes and their energy as people is real, honest, love and joy. MC Yogi has this ability to make even a small room feel like a full stadium. He exudes energy and charisma in an approachable and sweet way. He’s simply a VERY cool guy. And DJ Drez is a master of mixing music. I love the way he blends old songs with mantra and chant. They are both extremely talented and the combination of them together on one stage is truly powerful. I left their performance on night one of CSF feeling elated, joyful and exhausted! There was A LOT of jumping going on but you just can’t help it. MC Yogi gives you no other choice but to join him – repeating lyrics, jumping, waving your arms and riding the wave of energy he creates with a crowd. SO cool!
MC Yogi: http://mcyogi.com/
DJ Drez: http://www.djdrez.com
Janet Stone & Girish
One of the MANY things I loved about my California Spirit Festival Experience is the combining of teachers and music. Each duo worked so seamlessly together and Janet Stone and Girish were no exception. It’s hard to know yoga without knowing about both of them. They are staples in the yoga world and have literally touched the world with who they are and what they do. Girish’s talent as a singer is without question, and Janet’s voice is equally moving. She sings with conviction and heart and the blend of her voice in response to Girish’s call was perfection. I have had the pleasure of meeting both of these amazing human being a few times and what struck me about both of them is their sincerity and kindness. Girish sings from the heart and his voice can almost be haunting at times. His presence, along with his voice, is instantly calming and sweet. Janet teaches and sings from her heart. When approached she greets you with a huge smile and never feels rushed to end the conversation. Flowing with them both in the Grand Ballroom was such a beautiful experience, like practicing with 100 of your best friends. Janet speaks of devotion and encourages you to peel open your heart and reveal what lives inside. To surrender to all that you love and open yourself up to those things in your life that move you. Her flow is never predictable and always challenging, in a really loving and honest way. Watching her teach with her 8-year-old daughter by her side was sweet and beautiful. It’s one of the many things that make her so approachable. So genuine. So real. She is a mother, a teacher, a singer and so much more. She is your friend, your sister, your cousin. She exemplifies that common thread within each of us and exemplifies the deep connection that yoga offers us all. My respect for her only grows with ever experience I have with her and I am so grateful that I got to experience her magic with Girish by her side. Perfection!
Janet Stone Yoga: http://janetstoneyoga.com/
Janet Stone on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Janet-Stone-Yoga
Girish Music: http://www.girishmusic.com/
I stand in gratitude for the California Spirit Festival, the entire team that made it happen, every teacher, every singer, drummer, performer, vendor and attendee. We are SO incredibly blessed to have the richness of this yoga community here for us all to contribute to and enjoy. For me this event was pure LOVE and kindness. Every encounter with every vendor, every person I met, every bite of food, every sip of Kombucha and Cucumber Mint soda contained the love of this festival in it. I know I speak for everyone at Leap Yoga when I say a huge heartfelt “Thank You!” to Sukhbir, Tyler and the entire CSF team for allowing us to be part of your journey. We can’t wait to assist you in the creation of next year’s event and beyond! Sat Nam
Some vendors that were amazing and absolutely worth checking out:
- Natalie Tiburzi with Luminescence Minerals. I can’t stop looking at my beautiful celestite rock. Thank you for your time and education regarding the power of all the beautiful stones you sell. www.luminescenceminerals.com
- Payam (Pi) from Silk Road Soda Company who has created the most DELICIOUS cucumber and mint soda using his Grandma’s recipe. http://silkroadsoda.com/
- Psychic Sharon Sampsel. You were SO right on it was scary. And super fun to talk to. Thank you! www.psychicreadingsbysharonsampsel.com
- Virginia Jester with Gems for the Modern Empress. http://www.etsy.com/shop/EmpressHouse
- Patricia and her sweet husband from Miado Athletic. Unique yoga clothes made from super soft fabrics. Loved them! www.miadoathletic.com
And last, but CERTAINLY not least – A Very Special Thank You:
- To Sukhbir, Tyler and Jen Skondin for encouraging me to blog about my CSF experience and giving me the “all access” pass I needed to get the job done.
- To Jen, Allie, Mckenzie, and the Sacramento Fire Department Station 5 for the muscle and creative energy it took to make the Leap Meditation Lounge a reality.
- To Robert Wenzler for being our photographer extraordinaire.
- To Mckenzie, Robert and Allen, that sweet man from the Masonic Temple, who took mercy on us and helped up load up our entire meditation lounge and get it down many flights of stairs and loaded up.