Last week Sunday was international yoga day. As I mentioned in an other blog post, I spent this special day at the Yogafestival in Haarlem. What started as a cold and rainy morning turned out to be a Sunday well spent feeling energized and recharged.
Summer in Holland
To be honest, when the alarm went off early Sunday morning, I wasn't feeling it at all. It was grey and wet outside and the only thing I could think about was: what am I doing here? Is this what they call summer? So I did my best to get up and get ready to start my trip to the Yogafestival. After an hour and a half of traveling by bike, train and by foot (this in 13 degrees and through pouring rain) we arrived at the beautiful Elswout and my mood changed immediately. The location was so beautiful. Big old trees everywhere, fields of flowers and of course all the tents filled with yogis.
Yin and Yang by Anat Geiger
After a quick stroll through the festival, I followed the signs and reached the Shiva tent. I quickly rolled out my mat and started following the instructions of Anat Geiger. The class was supposed to be a yin and yang class but due to the weather conditions we had to keep on moving to keep ourselves warm and had a more active class instead. Anat describes Yin and Yang as the two fundamental and complementary forces in the Universe. Yang is characterised by strength, rhythm, repetition and will power and Yin is manifested in softness, stillness, slowness and kindness. So she says that in order to cultivate a healthy and fulfilling life we need to keep both aspects in balance and its up to us to develop the intuition and wisdom through our yoga practice to know what we really need and when.
Although I’ve been living in The Netherlands for almost 4 years now, the Dutch managed to surprise me again. The tent was filled with lots and lots of yogis (especially women) wearing sweats and socks, not bothered by the crappy weather at all. As soon as I started moving and connecting my breath with the movement everything fell right into place again. The same feeling I have during my own practice at home or at yoga studio Balanzs, I now also experienced it in an outdoor yoga shala filled with unknown people.
The theme of the class was Renew yourself, and this is exactly what the movements where all about. We started with an easy and slow practice, focusing on being born again, which slowly evolved into an all grown-up practice with full and complete movement of the body.
After the lovely practice I strolled around the Yoga festival and visited the cute bazar. The first stands I saw took me back to Thailand for a moment. They were selling singing bowls, typical thai pants, yoga cushions and all kinds of stuff that reminded me of my unforgettable trip to Koh Samui. There were also lots of stands with yoga pants, but I tried to walk pass them as quick as possible (on purpose) to avoid any accidental purchases… I think every Fit Girl has the same problem with new workout clothes, but I’m doing my best to control mine at the moment. Lets see how that goes!
After the bazar, it was time to eat! Before I had the delicious healthy lunch by Vuur & Vlam, I stopped at a cute food truck which served fresh lemonade that was oh so good! For all the tea lovers at the festival, Yogi-tea was there to provide everyone with there famous teas.
Yoga festival Haarlem was the first yoga festival I attended and I really liked it. Lovely people, beautiful location and overal good vibes. I don't have anything planned yet, but I’m already excited for my next yoga festival. If you have any recommendations for festivals or workshops, please let me know!