Saturday Festivities

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by Erin Mathiason

Day two of Denver Chant Fest kicked off early with Saul David Raye’s heart-opening yoga and continued all the way into the evening with Jai Uttal’s always amazing kirtan. From ecstatic dance to shopping to a movie premier, yoga and kirtan were just the beginning of this bhakti-filled day!

 A dad flies his happy baby over his head, her pink headphones matching her pink outfit, both enjoying the blissful chants of Govindas and Radha. Other Chant Festers brought their little ones to the Govindas and Radha kirtan, no doubt followed by Jai Uttal’s kids’ kirtan. Local favorites Scott and Shanti Medina and the Pushpams brought us another sweet kirtan in the afternoon.

The surprise of the day for me: Power Yoga icon Bryan Kest. My assumption of a physically demanding class was completely inaccurate. Instead, Kest spend the first hour relaying his message of yoga. Sometimes irreverent and often unorthodox, Kest’s message was no candy-coated sidestep but a take-responsibility-for-your-$%&# cosmic brick to the head. We can’t really be all about the love after all if we’re holding on tight to our baggage.

I’m including some of Bryan Kest’s wisdom here, in little bites:

  • “How are you going to have the opportunity to not be judgmental if you don’t have a yoga teacher who swears and burps?”
  • “The yoga world opens up when the mind becomes quiet.”
  • “I didn’t come here to work out my control issues on you.”
  • “The yoga is not movement. It’s the state of mind behind the movement.”
  • “If any of you want to look at me, take one last look…tune out everything else and tune in to your experience.”
  • “It’s all good if you’re gentle, it’s all harmful if you’re not.”
  • “Yoga doesn’t want to change you because yoga doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with you.”

When Kest finished lecturing, just in case we wanted to go back into our safe assumptions of what a Power Yoga class “should” look like, we danced to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” to warm-up. The abbreviated Power flow class ended with a seated gratitude meditation.

Check out my “Love letter to C.C. White” for more on day two Denver Chant Fest activities (and add your own comments about your favorites!)