I have been looking forward to attending Big Bear Yoga Festival (BBYF) and was eager to share the experience with my spiritual sister. Yoga is huge part of my life. I teach once per week and try to practice on my mat several times per week. I try to practice the other branches of the yoga tree, even off my mat and my life has changed because of my daily meditations. I was eager to immerse myself in a day’s worth of the festival’s activities (the festival runs all weekend) and super excited to share this experience with Ed.
BBYF is held at the YMCA campgrounds in Big Bear, nestled in the San Bernardino mountains. It is located about 45 minutes from my home, but far enough to feel removed and free from everyday responsibilities. The mountain air was fresh and the trees welcoming. It was the perfect environment for a day of yoga, heart-opening, gratitude and shifting perspectives.
The first workshop we attended was Essential Oils, Chakra Oils and Flower Essences, taught by Ashley Yau.
This was not so much about learning about essential oils as it was about how to experience and connect with flower essences. We started off by each walking in a circle surrounded by the flower essences. We listened to which one called to us, then we sprayed that essence all around our chakras and spread our aura around. We then drew a flower card and tried to connect with the essence we sprayed and the one on the card we drew. Does this sound like too much esoteric, hippy nonsense? It totally was, but I loved it and felt connection with the card I drew.
My card was about financial healing and describing that my financial worries were now behind me. I found this interesting since I will be starting a higher paying job next week and have been thinking about changes I would like to make in my financial life.
After we connected with our flower essence and drew our cards, Ashley led us in a meditation to discover our inner gardens. At the end she asked us to give a message or blessing to mother earth, which we were able to express through coloring. Again, on one level I felt this was completely ridiculous, on another, I let my skepticism go and went with it and totally found my secret garden. Ashley’s authenticity and loving kindness are remarkably inviting and her innocence is contagious, she gives you permission to reconnect with a child-like curiosity and wonder.
Next, we headed to one of the most important parts of the day: lunch! We were pretty hungry and I was oh so relieved to see the selection of food. There was plenty of options for vegans (not just an iceberg lettuce salad). I piled my salad plate high with fresh veggies and filled up on vegetarian baked beans, a vegan hot dog and gluten-free crackers with hummus.
After lunch we headed off to Finding Inspiration in Nature: Creating a Vision Board Workshop. We took our time being creative and thinking about our goals, desires and visions. My vision board seemed to be filled with images depicting self-care, nurturing, good health, food and movement.
We finished our vision boards early and we walked around the Vendor Village. I had a reading with Life Path Healer Marie Feuer and an iridology session. Both of these were revealing and eye opening. I have only begin to process the information and hope to share more about them both when I work through some of the issues brought up. I definitely have some work to do in the realms of forgiveness, emotional honesty, cleaning up my diet and overall health.
Next up, we did a 90 minute yoga class, Juicy Yoga Movements with Elka Haeckel. This was a beautiful, feminine and definitely, juicy practice. It was extra special to practice right next to my spiritual sister. Ed has come to my yoga class before, but we had never done yoga together. It’s always extra special to share these heart-opening and vulnerable experiences with someone you trust.
After class, we were ready to eat and luckily a delicious dinner was served. I piled my plate up high with brown rice, lentils, curried vegetables, hummus, naan, salad and THE most amazing mini-samosas.
We decided to end off our evening with Sunset Singing Bowl Bliss led by Julie Johnston. We started off with a beautiful chanting of one of my favorite mantras for compassion. 108 times through, we chanted Om Mani Padme Hum then Julie led us through a forgiveness session through the singing bliss bowls.
With all the heart-opening, processing and vulnerability, I was in a great place to begin meditating on forgiving. I realized I had more work to do in this area than I realized and I think I spent most of the bliss bowl session crying. However, these were healing tears and I felt pretty amazing afterwards.
Ed & I headed home after the bliss bowl meditation. We talked about our experiences the whole way home and listened to N.W.A to balance out the inner garden meditation. We are spiritual sisters who make vision boards, but we still keep it hood.
In love & sisterhood,
As long as I’ve known Angelina, she’s always practiced yoga. Although I’ve been to a couple of classes, I’m not as consistent as she is. So for my birthday, she gifted me an entrance ticket to the festival and I had the time of my life!
It started out a bit rocky due to my lack of time management. I’m still getting use to my work schedule so when Saturday morning came, all I could think of was sleeping in. Even though we had planned the previous day, I was still in sleep mode.
The trip started a bit hazardous:
Once we found the right road, we were well on our way:
Although we arrived an hour late, we definitely got our monies worth going from one event to another. My favorite part? The colorful vibrational bowls.