Nationally known yoga instructors, organic food and top-shelf world music could be part of any given Sunday in Los Angeles, much less Earth Day. But this year these globally conscious perks will be collected in one place as part of the Tadasana International Festival of Yoga & Music, happening this weekend on the beach in Santa Monica.
The first festival of its kind, this "zero waste" event pairs more than 75 yoga classes and workshops from famed instructors such as Shiva Rea and Seane Corn with live performances by musicians such as Cheb I Sabbah, Karsh Kale and the Toure-Raichel Collective, as well as lectures, eco-conscious shopping, a spa area and more.
The Tadasana festival, named after the "mountain pose" in yoga, was the brainchild of yoga industry business developer Tommy Rosen and world music producer Fabian Alsultany, who also co-produces the Twilight Dance Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier. "So much of the music you hear in a yoga class comes from India, Morocco, South America," said Alsultany. "For the first time, we've been able to bring together some of the greatest world music musicians to perform in a live collaboration."
Rosen, a certified yoga instructor, teaches at yoga conferences and runs international retreats with his wife, who is also an instructor. "Los Angeles is arguably the biggest yoga market in the world, with more well-trained teachers here than anywhere else on the planet," Rosen said. "This is the first event to bring attention to that fact."
The festival is open to all comers, from the advanced student to the complete neophyte. "One of our priorities was to make this event accessible to people who have never practiced yoga, or who have only dipped their toe into the water of that practice," said Alsultany. "The festival will provide an opportunity for everyone to explore in a unique setting."
Alsultany and Rosen discussed the concept of a yoga and world music festival years ago, but things took off when event producer and environmentalist Kevin Wall came onboard. The founder of high-profile events including the benefit concerts Live Earth and Live 8, Wall hopes the festival offers more than entertainment. "We have an opportunity to set the gold standard," said Wall. "We will bring together the best mix of yoga, music and environmentalism and spread the message throughout the community."
Internationally known yoga instructor Rea agreed. "This is not just a frivolous celebration, it's really a cultural gathering, and an opportunity for a high-caliber adventure in your backyard," she said. "And in Los Angeles we all go to the ocean, to 'the edge,' to experience the big picture."
Rea, who spends much of the year traveling around the world leading yoga retreats and workshops, attests to the greater influence of the L.A. yoga community. "L.A. was the place where the neighborhood yoga studio experience became a part of everyday life in the '80s and '90s," she said. "And we are not always aware of the larger cultural shift that we are participating in on a daily basis. Tadasana pools together the dedicated, local teachers who have had a worldwide influence in one big tent." Rea will also collaborate this weekend with Cheb I Sabbah, the San Francisco-based global electronica DJ who will perform during one of her classes.
Karsh Kale, the Indian classical fusionist and an innovator in world electronica, draws a parallel between the evolution of yoga in the West and the evolution of classical musical forms and styles. "Yoga has always run side by side with classical arts, music and dance," said Kale, who will perform as part of the festival this weekend. "I grew up with that connection, and it's been nice to see this whole movement growing before my eyes."
In keeping with the goals of Earth Day, the event aims to raise environmental awareness while also offering a respite from routine. "There is so much struggle going on, people are so overwhelmed, and millions of people have embraced the practice and lifestyle of yoga as a result," Rosen said. "Tadasana is about how you stand on the earth, what you stand for. . . . It's a point of centeredness and pause."
Tadasana International Festival
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Walking, biking, carpooling and public transportation highly encouraged.
Where: 2600 Barnard Way, Santa Monica
Cost: 1-day passes $99; 3-day passes $295. Children younger than
14 are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Info: www.tadasana festival.com