If you’ve ever had one of those experiences that made you happy to be alive, and happy to be living amongst other human beings, then you have some idea what my experience was like at the Awaken Yoga Festival last weekend.
The festival, in its inaugural year, was held at the Mount Sequoyah Conference and Retreat Center in lovely Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mount Sequoyah is charming and comfortable. Its lovely outdoor spaces and views are only a short bike ride away from fantastic local coffee shops and restaurants.
Austin and I stayed in one of the cottages at the retreat center, and walked straight out to festival events during the day. The central grounds of the retreat center hosted a vendor fair, where we met our new friends at Carrot Dirt, an organic juice company out of Fort Smith, Arkansas. They are not only wonderful people, but their juices are a revelation—not artificially sweetened or loaded up with agave, but also not overly weighted toward any one ingredient. They are perfect.
After a few sessions, we ate dahl made from scratch in a cauldron, stirred with an oar, and watched as people practiced group headstands and created human towers in the sunshine.
Saturday evening, we got to know fellow teachers even better at Greenhouse Grille, an organic restaurant in Fayetteville (oh my gosh, shitake fries). On the recommendation of friend of a friend, we made a stop Arsaga’s Depot on Sunday morning. If you're in Fayetteville, this is a must. The food was spectacular, and the environment really helped to separate us mentally from the stress of starting a new business.
Oh yeah, we practiced yoga as well! The teachers at this festival came both from local Arkansas studios and other regional cities, including DFW. These are teachers that care about spreading great yoga, health, and wellness, and their classes are inspiring examples of great things being accomplished in yoga communities throughout the country. This beautiful festival, put together by Sarah Rumsey, owner of local Fayetteville studio Maitri Yoga (and one heck of a teacher), gave me exactly what I needed. It wasn’t just asana—it was an experience. The love in this space was palpable, and I have no doubt that next year’s festival will be even more incredible. I can’t wait to go back. Thank you Sarah, for your vision and execution of this undertaking, and thank you to everyone that participated in the Awaken Festival. It takes us all to make things like this special, and we succeeded. It was and is so special.