Bhakti in the Woods – A spiritual path

0
49

Paintings displayed during the Bhakti in the Woods festival, each possessing a different meaning.

Lisa Boisvert



Paintings displayed during the Bhakti in the Woods festival, each possessing a different meaning.

Lisa Boisvert

THORNE – The third annual Bhakti in the Woods festival was held in Ladysmith from August 21-23. The weekend-long event welcomed over 200 people. Visitors from as far as Belgium, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Montreal attended the festival to participate in over 35 scheduled events such as workshops, nature walks, music, yoga, Kripalu yoga dance, morning Sadhana, and much more. Seventeen vendors selling products such as gems and minerals, jewellery, books, food, and massages were also on site. 
Bhakti, which means devotion or love, includes various practices intended to unite the Bhakta (Bhakti yoga practitioner) with the ‘Divine’. Bhakti yoga is considered the easiest yogic path to master (there is said to be four main yogic paths to enlightment) and the most direct method of experiencing unity of the body, mind and spirit; the ultimate goal of the practice is to reach a state of ‘rasa’ (essence) – a feeling of pure bliss achieved in the devotional surrender to the Divine.
During the festival, participants practiced Kirtan – the singing or chanting of devotional songs usually practiced in a call-and-response group format – and used the Sanskrit language which continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu and Buddhist religious rituals in the form of hymns and chants. “Using sound as a form of yoga and meditation is what we are all about. We teach sound yoga all over the place in many different communities,” said Amanda Porter, festival director.
Porter began practicing yoga seventeen years ago and has been sharing her knowledge with others for the last fifteen years.