Saturday, 20 November, saw the launch of Africa’s largest yoga class with almost 400 yoga enthusiasts arriving at the open-air Maynardville Park in Wynberg to participate in Cape Town’s Art of Living Festival.
Hosted by the Art of Living Foundation (AOL), a non-profit, educational, charitable and humanitarian organization with 3000 centres worldwide, the festival, a family event, was dedicated to celebrating cultural diversity and promoting a healthy, holistic lifestyle.
Like other techniques and initiatives used by AOL to ‘serve and uplift society,’ yoga offers health benefits beyond the basics of body-centric therapy, and focuses on the union of mind and body to cleanse, relax and rejuvenate.
“Yoga is an amazing, amazing way to tap into your inner spirit while simultaneously renewing your physical being,” raved Art of Living instructor, Mukesh Vassen.
“It’s not just about cleansing and detoxing – it’s also a process to reconnect with optimism and positive energy.”
This spirit held true when hundreds of undeterred participants carried on doing “downward dog” and “Bhujangasana” poses on rain-soaked yoga mats after a sudden downpour.
“The rain just adds another dimension to the energy here,” said festival-goer Heather Schmidt.
Stall vendors didn’t feel quite as enthusiastic about the interruption, but continued selling their eclectic array of goods behind tent flaps. A total of 60 stalls lined the park, offering everything from organic produce and green living products to clothing and jewelry.
“This is a great venue for my products because of the mixed crowd,” explained Markus van der Westhuizen of Healthy Choice Crystal Elixirs and Crystal Healing. Derived from “crystal energy,” van der Westhuizen’s Healthy Choice line aims to “restore wholeness, balance and health on levels of emotions, mind, spirit as well as the physical body.”
With claims equally as ambitious, but decidedly more scientific, the Biowashball also drew a crowd of curious customers. The ‘laundry without detergent’ device was named the winner of Italy’s 2009 Well-Tech Award for “Best Designed Environmental Product.”
“At this point, it’s not only about preservation,” explained vendor Charmaine Anderson. “With the current water situation, we need to do all we can to restore our resources. The Biowashball is eco-friendly and hypo-allergenic, doesn’t deposit chemicals into the water or on your skin, and is also unbelievably cost-effective and long-lasting.”
“This festival really has it all,” event organiser Michele Bush declared. “Holistic healthcare, delicious food, sustainable living… and the largest yoga class this continent has ever seen.”
For more information regarding upcoming AOL events and yoga courses, please visit www.artofliving.org.za. For more information regarding products, please visit www.healthychoice.co.za/elixirs, www.biowashball.co.za
Photos 1, 2, courtesy Gary Hirson www.garyhirson.com