Imagine this… You and your friends are at a getaway resort in the mountains of a foreign country for five days. The hotel serves 3 all you can eat meals each day, is on a beautiful lake backdropped by tree covered rolling hills, and the spa has 5 different styles of heated rooms from dry to wet to herb infused. Your group is alongside many other groups from other countries and you are all having this retreat style experience in the context of a Yoga and Music Festival…
Udaya Live 2017 kicked off with a startling and spectacular slam poet who not only captured the room with his confidence and bravado, but with his thoughtfulness and ability to convey manifest reality and the Divine as one. This was just the beginning of the 5 nights of music and entertainment, singing and dancing, laughing and crying; acts ranging from Indian Kirtan to dance club DJ sets.
The Kirtan scene at Udaya Live is diverse. Blues rock, gospel, folk, country, world music, whatever-the-hell Deepak Ramapriyan is, a touch of reggae, to traditional Indian Bhajan singing mixed with jazz and all of it stunning, delightful, engaging, and heartfelt. DJ sets at Udaya Live kept people dancing throughout the festival in Yoga classes, dance classes and to all hours of the night at the downstairs nightclub put together by the amazing crew of the Festival. The crew!
You would not believe the amount of work it takes to build out and keep a festival going for 5 days. The crew is a Bulgarian crew and they work hard! Harder than anyone else at the festival. They build stages, floors, sound stages, light rigs, decor, tents, run sound, strike and rebuild stages do to changes in the schedule, from morning to late night… They even built a floating stage! Yes, a floating stage on the lake!!! These guys are ready, willing, able, and have great attitudes. They are a pleasure to work with and they get stuff done. Each of the 4 stages at Udaya Live had an amazing, top of the line sound system and when the floating stage got rockin, it really got rockin!
All 4 stages were packed with Yoga classes of all types from 7:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. for 4 days straight. Most classes had live music playing at them with a diversity of musicians collaborating from different bands. Udaya Live brings together many different styles of Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Alignment based Yoga, Acro Yoga, Dance, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, Contemplative Yoga, Meditation, Yin, Singing, and yes, Yoga Kung Fu is not just a movie with Jackie Chan in it… It’s for real. Each of the teachers at Udaya Live 2017 bring a unique flavor to the Yoga practice and while their online classes are fantastic, being with them live is a special treat.
Your day with your friends might look like this:
7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Meditation with Sunrise overlooking the lake (don’t ask me how you can see the lake during meditation)
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Small easily digestible breakfast to be ready for kickass class at 10 a.m.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Get your ass kicked with Powerful Vinyasa Yoga (in a meditative and joyful way)
11:00 – 12:30 p.m. Rest, recover, hydrate and prepare for afternoon of inversions.
12:30 – 2 p.m. Inversions and hand balancing with the masters. Udaya Live brings you some of the best instruction around to keep you safe while having fun.
2 – 3 p.m. Lunch
3 – 4:30 p.m. Rest, digest, and hydrate at the amazing spa!
4:30 – 6 p.m. Soothing and calming Yin class with the angelic sounds of the harp, flute, and voice.
6 – 7 p.m. Relax, enjoy a drink, and clean up for dinner and a great night of music and dancing!
*** Of course, if you and your friends want to really pack it in, there are classes available during the breaks of this imaginary schedule. You could attend 5 classes a day if you could handle it.
7 – 8 p.m. Dinner, drinks, dessert
8 – 9:30 p.m. World music Kirtan and concert
10 – 11:30 p.m. Blues Rock Kirtan and concert
11:30 – 1 a.m. Dance club DJ set
Then… Do it again and again for 4 full days. This festival is made for you and you can tailor your day as full or as spacious as you want. As difficult or as soft as you like. As inside or outside your comfort zone as is your preference. Udaya Live feels like a family affair as much as it does a festival and as laid back as it sincerely difficult Yoga practice. Music is there nearly every step of the way to support, inspire, and bring you deeper into your practice.
I am looking forward to Udaya Live 2018 already and from the rumors it seems like it is going to be even better than this year.
By: Brent Kuecker – Yogi. Musician. Educator.