Yogis across the West and beyond are limbering up for yoga, kirtan and meditation at Bhakti Fest West, Sept. 9-14 at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.
Like a grand buffet of all things yoga, the seventh annual festival combines nonstop music on two stages, plant-based food, a colorful marketplace of eco-friendly and sustainable gear, arts, crafts and spiritual music and literature, united by a vibe of compassion, love and charity.
The scheduled 12 hours of daily yoga offers an immersion in practice styles. Led by renowned teachers such as Saul David Raye, Shiva Rea, Yogi Cameron and Sianna Sherman, sessions can resemble joyous dance parties, serene moving meditations or energizing workouts to sacred music. The lineup of kirtan — meditative, participatory, musical chanting — features stars such as Jai Uttal, Trevor Hall, MC Yogi, Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band and Krishna Das.
Though the drug- and alcohol-free event was created to be the "spiritual Woodstock of the New Millennium," programming extends beyond music to seminars and workshops on yoga, spiritual knowledge, dance and breath work. Massage, bodywork, energy work and other wellness-centered modalities will be featured too.
New additions this year include Conscious Kids Land, a distinct children's area with yoga-themed activities. To supplement the center's often sold-out on-site lodging, the festival now offers its version of "glamping." New outdoor structures are outfitted with inflatable mattresses, fans, lights and an optional linen package. Festivalgoers can rent bell tents ($200 per night), canvas geodesic domes ($250 per night) and yurts ($250-$350 per night).
Held high above the desert floor just outside Joshua Tree National Park, the surreal geology of the festival grounds blends with the stone-embellished architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his son, who created the largest retreat center of its kind in the West.
More information and tickets, from $200 to $450 for a four-day pass, are available at www.bhaktifest.com, and at the door for $475.