How not to look forward to a press conference whose invitation stated “Café, croissants et salutations au soleil?” Any rendezvous that prioritizes those three essentials (yes, coffee and croissants are as essential as sun salutations, at least to me) has me very excited. That’s one of the many things I love about France, actually: pleasure and practice are not mutually exclusive, and being a yogi doesn’t require a life of abnegation. If ever there were an occasion to celebrate individual choice and aligning with yoga’s aspirations, this is it*.
Spearheaded by Santé Yoga’s editorial duo, Pauline Lorenceau and Renaud Cellier, the Yoga Festival Paris 2012 is the fulfillment of a long-held dream: to demystify yoga and invite people to experience its diversity. After answering the same questions year after year (“Where should I do yoga? What kind of yoga should I do? What if I don’t like it?” etc), they realized that if they could create an event that illustrated yoga’s multiplicity, they could simply show rather than tell people what it’s all about. As Renaud said, “C’est un projet de rencontres”, meaning that the Yoga Festival Paris is first and foremost about encounters -- encounters between people, between people and their ideas about yoga and its many forms.
To emphasize discovery, the Festival has very affordable admission (from 8€ to 15€) which encourages students to participate in as many activities as possible: free classes, conferences, Yoga Village (vendors, schools, associations, publishers, yoga and well-being products, food), massages, performances, a Satsang area to spur conversation between teachers and students, spaces devoted to new students, as well as opportunities to schedule private sessions… Even the workshop rates are quite reasonable given the high caliber of the teachers, some of whom have travelled from as far away as Tibet! The Festival will foster an environment that is not only accessible to all, but resembles a sort of yoga university with classes, subjects and tastes to suit as many practitioners as possible. If this Festival doesn’t clearly address those ubiquitous questions (“Where should I do yoga? What kind of yoga should I do? What if I don’t like it?” etc), then as Micheline Flak (more about her next week!) said, “Il faudra tout abandoner.” ;)
* Yes, I believe that you can attain Samadhi at the boulangerie.