Narula’s Banquet Hall was filled with people in glowing white clothes and neon body paint on Friday August 19th. Glow-in-the-dark Ecstasy yoga on Barton Street kicked off the Midsummer’s Dream Yoga fest last weekend, although it was only one of three activities that took place in the hall that evening. A pranayama meditation session followed the hour long yoga lesson, and following this was a black light sitar concert.
Part 1: Lead by Helena from In Fine Feather Yoga
Once everyone was signed in, yoga mats were laid out and body paint was applied and glowing while the first session of the night began. Despite not having taken many yoga classes before, it was surprisingly very easy to follow along with everyone. The instructor made sure to emphasize that the main focus was to control your breathing and relax your body. Key poses that were taught included the upward dog, downward dog, and child’s pose. The class started off in any pose we felt most comfortable in, followed by a quote to set the mood for the rest of the night, which compared breathing to sailing a boat and introduced the idea that we are in charge of our bodies and we get to control the movement and breathing of it (similar to how a sailor steers and controls a sailboat).
As the hour went on, so did the intensity and speed of the poses, remaining easy enough for beginners to keep up. (But once the class ended, many people were wiping sweat and taking long drinks of water). By the end of the hour my body definitely felt more relaxed and stretched out compared to when the class started, and my mind and breathing felt more at ease. If you’re ever in need of a good workout but also something to sooth your mind and body, yoga is a good way to go.
After the yoga and before the next event, drinks were available for people to purchase (and most people did after the workout).
Part 2: Lead by Pradeep Kumar, author, teacher of Acupuncture at McMaster University, and Sivananda Ashram Manager in Rishikesh
Next was the pranayama meditation session, which like the yoga class, started with any pose we were most comfortable in. The soothing voice of the instructor guided us throughout the hour with tips on how to control our breathing and be in the most relaxed and comfortable state possible. One of the main things that stood out to me throughout the whole session was when the instructor reminded us that breathing controls energy. We learned that it is very helpful when trying to relax to breathe in periods of five seconds: inhale through your nose for five seconds, exhale through your mouth for five seconds. As the hour went on the instructors voice become less prominent, and at points this resulted in the room being almost completely silent (it was at these points in the session where I actually fell asleep for a few minutes because I was so relaxed). The meditation ended with the entire room humming together and the lights turning on. Once the lights turned on I felt even more relaxed (who knew that was possible?) than after the yoga class, it felt like I had just woken up from a much needed nap, which essentially I did.
Part 3: Lead by musician, performer and teacher Neeraj Prem
The last event of the night was a black light sitar concert that consisted of two men playing instruments, one playing the sitar and the other on an Indian drum. After tuning their instruments and before playing a few songs, the duo explained exactly what the sitar is, what it can do and how it differs from the guitar. The hour continued with lots of laughs between the duo and the audience, and of course soothing music- a perfect way to end a relaxing but fun and exciting night.