This past Saturday I attended Rasa Lila Fest, a weekend long yoga festival in Windemere, Florida. I had been looking forward to it for a long while; it seemed like the perfect opportunity to market myself and get my name out there among seasoned yogis. After letting the experience settle in my mind, and pondering the whole thing for a bit, I’ve come to a few revelations:
- Rasa Lila Fest humbled me. Prior to going I thought that I was an experienced yogi who could bust out almost any asana; I thought my practice was solid and my teaching skills both effective and evolving. However, after my first class at the festival went horrifically, I was forced to come to terms with the fact that there are some things in yoga that I can’t do. Whether it be due to mental blocks, physical blocks or just the fact that my arms aren’t long enough to come into crow pose, I was faced with not being able to do things. I was looking around at other people effortlessly coming into headstand, while I was sweating and kicking myself over not being able to come anywhere close to that. I ended up leaving that class and moving to an Ashtanga class, which I had never taken before. That went almost equally as badly, but I made sure to power through the class. It was sweaty, it was hard and at some parts, embarrassing, but I still did it. I ended up calling Richard at one point, crying, because I felt inferior to those around me. If I’m a teacher, then why can’t I do these things? How can I be a teacher if I’m sweating and crying my way through a yoga class? I was prepared to come home, but ended up talking myself into staying and trying to make the best of it.
- I took a Reiki workshop and did a partner exercise with a man who said my energy was strong. Well damn, if he saw me crying earlier he may have changed his tune. But still, that was exactly what I needed to hear. I don’t know if he could sense that I needed it, but it did make me feel better. Maybe I did sweat, cry and fumble around my yoga mat during Ashtanga, but I still finished. However, you won’t find me becoming an Ashtanga enthusiast anytime soon.
- Stand up paddle boarding is not my forte. Sitting down paddle boarding, however, is incredible. I partook in a paddle boarding workshop and it was easily the highlight of my day. I was in the middle of a beautiful lake, paddling my way around while trying not to disrupt a habitat of lily pads or knock into other people, and I had a great time. I did fall into the lake in all of my clothes, but it was refreshing as hell on a hot, muggy day (hello, silver lining).
- I love, love, love Kundalini Yoga. If anything, I learned that I want to immerse myself more in that practice so that I can teach it in the future.
- I ended up staying for 8 hours, practicing yoga for 4 hours, and paddle boarding for 1 hour. I think it need not be said that I was sore the next day. In fact, I’m still sore today.
Rasa Lila Fest was a test to my mental strength. I started the day feeling completely discouraged, and ended up staying for the better part of a day and enjoying myself. I still feel like there are plenty of things I can work on in my yoga practice, but that’s okay. What I did realize is that I’m not a fast-paced, advanced, power yoga lover. For me, yoga is about slowing down and finding mental and physical peace and relaxation. Headstands, crow pose and scorpion pose may look cool, but I can’t get into those poses. I don’t practice yoga for just the physical benefits or its exercise aspect. I love yoga, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. I hope that I remember this any time I start comparing myself to others or thinking I’m not good enough to teach yoga.
Is it sad that this is the only picture I took?
To be fair, those macaroons were delicious.
If you want to see actual photographs from the event, check out their Facebook page.
I'm a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, writer and cat lover in Orlando, Florida. Thank you for stopping by!