Dream + community = amazing manifestation!

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by Erin Mathiason

Erik Vienneau and Dakini Ma co-created Denver Chant Fest for peace, for healing and for light. Denver Chant Fest kicked off tonight and already exceeds my expectations with this inaugural event. I roll out my mat tonight with hundreds of other chant festers for a class with Janet Stone. Even before class began, I spot old friends, local yoga studio owners, the yoga teacher I took class with yesterday, and new friends to meet. I have not taken class with Janet Stone before, but my mat neighbor Kristina practiced with Janet Stone at last summer’s Wanderlust Festival. Shawndra, my neighbor behind me, heard about Denver Chant Fest from two of her CorePower teachers, both of whom, she told me, are up near the stage. Shawdra is attending Denver Chant Fest with her daughter Brittany. All three are new to kirtan and are excited for the experience.

Erik Vienneau and Dakini Ma offer opening remarks. “We are all here to help rise each other up,” Dakini reminded us. Manoj and Jyoti Chalam complete the opening ceremony with a beautiful Ganesha invocation to remove obstacles and move into the light.

Manoj introduces San Francisco vinyasa yoga teacher Janet Stone as “Mahashakti,” telling us that she “embodies the fierce grace of divine love.” Janet Stone lives up to that description of big Shakti energy in every way. We gather close as she begins with a call-and-response chant. And we move under her instruction, like embodied spanda, breathing together, moving as a wave, the ebb and flow reflected by the wave-like scalloped ceiling of the yoga room. The energy opens and closes, crescendoing into a dance party, and ending in a sweet savasana. The practice, accompanied by the music of DJ Drez, is truly original, organic and “delicious.”

The night has only begun. Dave Stringer and his all-star band of local and even international kirtan musicians take the stage. Dave Stringer has the crowd on our feet. “We think it’s about having, it’s about giving…most people are remembered for what they gave…love is about giving,” he reminds us. And that is why we are here.

“Are you ready to activate your booty chakra?” the Luminaries ask the crowd. We are! Hip hop artists and social activists The Luminaries, along with DJ Drez, round out the night with a dance party. Their set was still going strong when this blogger calls it a day. Another equally amazing and vibration-raising day begins early tomorrow.