It has been a total pleasure to perform International Yoga Festival near Auckland this year. Arriving at the Auckland airport we began to look for a bus to get to Albany, where the event was held by Kawai Pura Pura Retreat Centre. In line for bus tickets, my phone rings and the festival organiser explains someone is there to pick us up. I say we are at the Sky Bus station, and no sooner then I put my phone away I look up and see a fellow free-spirit waking towards me. We immediately recognise each other as the person we are seeking, although we had never met. Michael explains he had been told to go to the international terminal and had figured out the problem - he had just ran to the domestic to find us! He led us across the airport back to international where he was parked, and we began the 45min drive to the festival!!! Arriving in Albany, a large sub-set of Auckland with a massive Pac n’ Save, industrial park with all the big brand stores, buzzing with people and vehicles. We drive just behind the shops and find a large patch of bush. Diving under the canopy of mature native bush over a bridge, we can suddenly hear the hypnotic sound of cicadas. The narrow driveway winds up to the retreat centre, comprised of a collection of beautiful buildings, houses and yoga halls, each one unique and inviting. It is hard to tell where the gardens end and the bush begins, and the whole property is homogeneous with the nature that encompasses it. We are led by Michael to the stunning main building to reception. Although we had packed a tent and blankets (filling half the suitcase) we are directed to our room! Feeling right at home I found the beautifully nurturing Kawa Kawa tree all around, selecting a few holey leaves I brewed some tea in my flask.
The coming four days are an endless stream of beautiful people, classes, workshops, and talks. I perform my Electronic Kirtan on the opening night to a intimate, but passionate crowd, who enjoy both dancing and participating in the call and response. Dripping with sweat due to the northern air and my dedication for the music, I freestyle rap, sing, lead call and response, and craft the electronic music in an improvised set that has the illusion of being planned! Of course, months were spent on preparation in order to pull this off! On the third day after a late night dancing, unable to sleep I woke at 5am and prepared the space for my 9am Rap Yoga session. Unfortunately, I had my headphones sat on the stop button preventing me to play my music for the first few minutes of the class!!! After this was resolved, the class went great with a full room of people digging into the largest Rap Yoga class ever! With great reviews the class ended and with it a weight off of my shoulders. All the preparation had paid off and I had officially launched my new musical/yogic concepts for the world.
A huge thank you to Kawai Pura Pura Retreat Centre for having me and hosting such an uplifting event. Also a big thanks to all the other performers and friends that were made!