Rachael is a musician and travels for work on cruise ships. She enjoys sharing her vegan finds on Instagram when travelling and back home in the UK and is passionate about sharing the vegan message. Find her on Instagram here. Rachael writes:
On 6th October, I made the journey down to The Halley Academy in Greenwich, London to attend my first yoga and vegan festival by Yogific. Firstly, I want to say how nice it is to see yoga and veganism together in a joint cause. It's great to see the yoga world embracing veganism. As many students of yoga will know, veganism aligns with Ahimsa, the first of the five yamas from Patanjali's eight limbs of Yoga. Ahimsa translates as non violence. To not cause pain to or kill anyone. It can also be to not cause mental harm as well as physical. One who observes Ahimsa succeeds in eliminating feelings of enmity. So, it is clear that this can extend to non human animals as well as human beings, because at the end of the day, what have animals done to deserve the pain they suffer at the hands of humans? We should all be equals.
So I spent a good 8 hours at Yogific browsing the stalls, attending classes and eating delicious vegan food! The first item on my agenda was a meditation class by Dhriti Mehra, of Vibrance4Life. This was a lovely meditation to start the day and I really enjoyed it. I normally do better with guided meditations (I can't stand sitting in silence trying to quiten the monkey mind!) and Dhriti gave clear and direct instructions in her session. It involved imagining white and pink light; the white to wash the dirt away, and the pink to bring love and energy back to the body. Afterwards, I found her at her stall and she gave me a lot of her time talking through my worries with me. She was so sweet and patient, I will definitely be following her work. She also does holistic massage, homeopathy and shamanism.
The next stall I came across was Silver Bamboo, which sells natural, cruelty free, vegan eco-friendly products. Phew! Joshna was running the stall and was very friendly and chatty. Now this is where I made a really interesting purchase which could be a bit taboo, but let's talk about it here....reusable menstrual cotton pads! I've been seeing adverts for these pop up all over the place recently and wasn't thinking of giving them a go, as I couldn't see how they could work. But, I had a look and decided to take the plunge with a starter pack. (Ladies can look up the website for further details as I won't go into too much right now!) The awesome thing about buying one of the Eco Femme pads from Silver Bamboo is that they support a women's empowerment project in India. Rural Indian Women's collectives stitch these pads and they are then ethically traded. This means they are available to Indian women at cost price so as to be affordable, and are sold internationally to help sustain the project. And, for every pad sold, a pad is donated via the Eco Femme Pad for Pad program to an underprivileged Indian girl. How awesome is that? I also bought reusable cotton pads for removing make-up - £10 for 8 pads - and a pink glass straw. Groovy!
My next stop was to visit Emma Nissim, a lady who makes lovely ethical clothing from bamboo. She sells mainly T-shirts, tank tops and jumpers in bold colours and they are all printed with animals such as elephants, turtles, owls, butterflies, bees any many more. Each animal has a story behind it too, which is so heartening. The Elephant (which I'm obsessed with) is an Elephant who she saw when visiting Thailand about 8 years ago, and the turtle is inspired by a friend of hers who had rescued a turtle. (That's me modelling the top in the first picture!). Emma has a shop in Greenwich, so I would advise any locals to stop by and visit her shop as I'm sure it will be full of lush clothing!
After a quick hot chocolate (made with rebel mylk) to keep my hunger at bay, I went to a pranayama class. Pranayama - or breath work - is something that I know I need to get back into. I studied yoga last year in India, and pranayama was an important part of our morning session. The passive pranayama work can really help to relax and calm you, so I was glad to be reintroduced to this today by Ravi Dixit,from Ravi Yoga. This fellow was quite interesting and very enthusiastic about teaching pranayama, and once he started saying all those familiar sanskrit words, I felt it all coming back to me. Bhastrika pranayama (breath of fire), Nadi Shodhana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), even Simhasana (Lion's breath) which I hadn't tried before, all left me feeling revitalised. (Note to self - must start practising pranayama again).
After my pranayama class I met Rebecca from Unity Healing Arts, who did a mini healing session using singing bowls with me. I also attended her class later in the day where she did healing for about 40 of us, which was really wonderful. This lady has travelled the world and seen it all! You can look her up on Instagram as well as her dog, who she saved from the streets of India. She hopes to work with her new pup Indie in healing people. Find her links below to follow her and Indie.
With so many stalls and activities I didn't get round to see everything. However, here are a few more that I wish I'd caught up with: Indicrafts.uk and A Curious Herbal. Indicrafts make cheap harem pants, skirts, scarves and bags in a unique indian style, and A Curious Herbal is run by a lady called Lizzie who practises Reiki and marconics and has a small shop in Greenwich. I will also do a plug for a gentleman who runs his own Thai yoga massage company. I met him a year ago at the Omyoga show and bumped into him at Yogific, he is trained in traditional holistic Thai yoga massage and works in the Sydenham area (can travel to client's homes). He has a special autumn offer of £30 for a 1 hour treatment or £45 for a 90 minute treatment. If you're in that area, please do check him out at spiritualthai.co.uk.
Despite the miserable weather, the Yogific event was thoroughly enjoyable with a small fest vibe - not too crowded but enough people there to see that plenty are engaging with the worlds of yoga and veganism. Yogific will now travel to other places in Britain and Ireland til next April, and past events have been in places such as Holland and even Delhi. After browsing through their past events, I realised that I was meant to visit their event in Kingston last year but wasn't able to go due to a bad toe! I'm so happy that I eventually managed to attend a Yogific event, and by hearing about it through Emma Nissim, thanks Emma!
I hope Yogific keep spreading the positive message of yoga and vegan together in a harmonious relationship and to inspire people to make the change to making their lives better. Thank you for a lovely day Yogific :)
www.indicrafts.co.uk (currently under construction)
Please note these are people and companies that I like myself or purchased from at the festival, and are not advertising or supporting me.