Buddhafield 2008

Buddhafield BodhisatvaI returned from Buddhafield festival on Sunday evening and have spent the last couple of days just chilling out and acclimatising to life back in Brighton. It seemed like half of Brighton was at the festival so even though I went on my own I wasn’t alone by any means. In fact Laura and Mark were camped a few tents away from me.

For those who have never been – I can honestly say that I’ve had the time of my life! I’ve directly experienced so much healing, bliss, love and rejuvenation. Each day was an emotional roller coaster full of delights, insights and as many new activities as I wanted.

Some of the highlights for me:

  • Contact Improvisation workshop – I attended this on my first full day and it really helped me to get into the flow. It involved safe and intimate contact within a group setting with a bunch of total strangers. There was group pair and group work. Kinda like twister!
  • Christopher Titmuss dharma talk – Christopher delivered a really passionate and concise talk exploring the following two part question in small groups: Firstly what do I need to change or let go of so that I may travel more lightly through life? And, what do I need in place to support this change? Christopher encouraged us to name it directly and share within the groups and then we discussed it again in the larger group. It was such a simple but powerful exercise in considering one’s own path and direction in life.
  • Reconnecting workshops – A series workshops led by an Engaged Buddhist group (can’t remember which one) This had me sobbing in tears at both sessions that I attended. The idea behind the workshops is to reconnect with the pain we feel particularly around the harm that we are causing the earth and then explore ways in which this pain can be used to instigate positive change.
  • Ecstatic dance sessions – with Jewls Wingfield. I’d heard about ecstatic dance before but never experienced it. All I can say is WOW!! I’d forgotten that I love to dance! Jewls was also running Heart Tantra workshops which I checked out too.
  • Skillful Flirting workshop – This was great fun and freaked people out quite a bit. The definition of flirting used was this: The beauty and love within me recognises and celebrates your great beauty. The homework was to flirt with 3 people that evening. I won’t tell you how it went ; )

Anyway, the list goes on and on: There was great food every day, fantastic live bands playing every evening, a couple of scorching saunas (that’s right, naked baby!), 35 different yoga classes a day, beautiful Pujas including a Dakini Puja that was more like an ecstatic dance session!

I shot 3 rolls of film so I should have some pics up on Flickr in a couple of days. I also did some practice while I was away but it’s been more of a holiday break so I’m really looking forward to getting back on the mat tomorrow morning.

I’ll definitely be going regularly and next time going to try encourage a bunch of friends and Ashtangis to come along and experience it too.

Namaste, may all beings be free from suffering.


3 Responses to Buddhafield 2008

  1. Laura 23rd July 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Guy’s reflections on Buddhafield have inspired me to write and agree!

    It’s an amazing festival and a great way to get reconnected with your flow and inner bliss. It’s unique in many ways, for a start it’s drug and alcohol free and this makes a massive difference to the whole energy and atmosphere of the festival, it’s also security free which is almost unheard of at festivals. My experience was that people talk more, interact more and love more, may sound cheesy but the love really does flow!

    For us yogis there was a large tent with classes running all day. There were Ashtanga classes, but I decided to try some other styles out during this time. The one I felt most affinity to was Yin Yoga. I’ve come across this style before in the past at a retreat that was also run by ashantgis, so it seems a popular style to combine with ashtanga. It’s a very passive style of yoga aimed at releasing connective tissue (particularly in the pelvis and hips) rather than increasing muscle flexibility. I found it challenging in a completely different way from ashtanga. The asanas are not as complex and it is all about releasing/relaxing totally rather than engaging muscles. The postures are held for extended lengths of time, so in each asana you really tune into how your mind is reacting to the intensity of the postures. It’s really very powerful. The whole practice feels like a seated meditation. The teacher was excellent – Norma Blair – who is also influenced by Ashtanga. I think Ashtanga and Yin yoga seems a good combination of active and passive styles to combine, I’m going to try and incorporate more Yin into my life!

    I also want to mention Jewls workshops. There are truly amazing and I’ve been hooked for the past year now. The Ecstatic Dance, as always, was incredible and sent shivers up my spine. Her workshops are based upon the idea that we are all manifestations of divine love and the ecstatic dance and heart-tantra workshops are tools for reconnecting with this divinity inside of us through being close with others. I see yoga/meditation and heart-tantra as two sides of the same coin. Both are leading to the same place but through different methods, in yoga we work towards withdrawing from our senses in Tantra we embrace our senses/the sensual in the fullest possible way. The workshops for indiv idual are deeply moving and I did my first couples workshop with her this year which was an eye opener!

    Plus, if you are into Permacutlure there was also a big permaculture area with some inspiring talks. I went to one about creating your own forest garden and the benefits this would have to our environment if we were all to created these in our backyards – yes we can even do this in a city like Brighton, you don’t need acres and acres of land! There was lots of stuff of urban permaculture.

    I also happened to meet one of the Buddhist speakers one evening, Vajradaka. He does some very interesting talks and workshops on meditation practice. I went along to one and he gets you to really think about how you are meditating and how to overcome limiting patterns/habits in meditation (and in life!). He takes a very creative approach to meditation and he is just about to start up some workshops in London on teaching “awareness” to yoga teachers so they can bring this concept into their classes. I have his details if anyone is interested.

    And yes there were rituals and saunas and poetry and nature art and massage and music and much more.

    Hope to see some of you there next year. Can’t wait!

  2. gstar
    gstar 23rd July 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    Hey that’s a great post Laura. I think you described Jewls tantra work nicely! I’m still a little lost for words when it comes to Tantra ; )

    I’ve started a flickr group for the Buddhafield festival:

    Anyone can join, comment and upload their pictures so spread the word to those who may be interested.


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