Located in a drowned valley estuary, the Hawkesbury river is one of the best kept secrets of New South Wales; one of the longest rivers in eastern Australia.
It only took me 1hour and 20 minutes from Sydney Eastern Suburbs to reach the Hawsberry River Train Station. Be on time to jump onto the wharf and catch the 8am daily ferry. From children to elders, a crowd of people of all ages board the boat with excitement: we are all embarking for a journey in Broken Bay iIland for the first ever Kundalini Festival in Australia.
Passing by spectacular gorges and cliffs, it take us 15 minutes to reach the lush island. Broken Bay island is covered with rich bushland and dense forest, surrounded by pristine beaches. It is in this secluded and magical field, that the Kundalini Festival decided to plant its root in Australia, and launch its first edition of an event that aims at bringing together a growing number of Kundalini yoga practicionners, teachers and beginners in Australia.
Kundalini Yoga is new to Australia. It has only just started to become popular in the last 5 or 10 years, although, it has been around the US since the 1970’s. Kundalini Yoga was introduced to the United States in 1968 by Yogi Bhajan. It is a type of yoga that stands out from all other forms; for it is deeply spiritual and focusing on building innner strength thgough breathing, meditating and chanting. At Broken Bay, it has been quite amazing to see how this first edition has attracted a very well established, big and connected community.
Some of the most reknowned Kundalini Yogis, like Guru Tej or Guru Dass, were there coming from around the world and are direct disciples of Yogi Bhajan. The harmonious mix of chanting instruments and spiritual words that accompanies the various exercise brings every one to a complete state of bliss. Each person has his or her own place in the festivals, and all workshops encourage questions and communications with the teachers.
Most Practitionners of Kundalini yoga, have been seen wearing different variations of turban and white clothes – a color symbolising purity. Yet, there were beginners and newcomers like me, who have felt free and comfortable in their pair of comfy yoga pants.
Lastly, this festival has been a fantastic opportunity for a full immersion in the Kundalini practice: whether you are a complete beginner or an expert, everyone has a place.
Multiple venues have been hosting multiple aspects of Kundalini Yoga, such as, fire breath or chanting meditation. While parents will be practicing, kids will be spoiled with a bunch of volunteers guiding them to exciting, self-development, and fun activities. These activities include but are not limited to: flying foxes, canyioning, and hut building.
The venue is located in spots amongst trees, fields, near a swimming pool, and aside the beach. The Golden Temple is the main area. It is a covered area and provides a good acoustic, while gathering hundreds of yogis. Set on the grass shaded by a beautiful huge tree, the Shiva Shati tent is more intimate and allows a refreshing wind to wander amongst yogis.
There were a number of people in the festival who shared with the community, how Kundalini has changed their lives. The omni-presence of music has made the whole festival more than a spiritual or physical experience; it has carried the possibility of a magical connection between people from all background. And for that reason, it was a success. We are looking forward to the second edition.
Mark your calendar for next year's October's Festival.