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The Mudra Festival or : How to let go completely

The Mudra Festival was held last July 26, 27 and 28. Although only in its second edition, the event already has many keen followers. The Festival is organized by the staff of Mudra (a place for practicing yoga, wall climbing and other sport disciplines year-round) and an amazing group of motivated volunteers. The event, which takes place outside in the nature, is an invitation to surpass oneself and let go during an entire weekend. I can already tell you that the formula works! I felt so relaxed that I hardly took any photographs of the event.

Friday night

The Mudra Festival took place on the shore of Lake Opasatica. It was 7 pm when I arrived at Domaine Opasatica. I knew that I was in the right place as soon as I saw the tents set up on the ground. I followed a short and narrow trail that led to the camping area…and the magic happened! I saw a big tent, decorated with lights and a dreamcatcher hanging from the ceiling, an A-shaped climbing wall, health food stands and people gathered around an open fire. As I moved towards the lake, I saw on my right a group of people slacklining. In front of me, a beach with lounging chairs. I also saw an intriguing structure in the lake; from the green ribbons hanging from the top of the structure, I could tell it was for the aerial acrobatics activity planned for the following day.

Stand-up paddling AND music CONCERT on lake opasatica

In the evening, I decided I would attend the music concert on a SUP board. The guest artist, Louis-Philippe Gingras, was to perform in a canoe. Unfortunately, the wind picked up and adventuring on Lake Opasatica in a canoe or SUP was no longer an option. The organizers suggested that we take our boards and canoes to the aerial acrobatics structure. A few minutes later, Gingras arrived with his guitar, seated in a canoe handled by Guillaume Rivest of Exode bâtisseur d’aventures.

During what turned out to be a very intimist acoustic performance, all the participants, a smile on their lips, listened carefully to Jean-Philippe Gingras’ songs. I was sitting on my SUP board, with my feet in the water; others were sitting in aerial ribbons. It never occurred to me to take out my camera or smartphone to capture this unique moment. Instead, I let myself be carried away by the music, enjoying the present moment.

The evening went on around the camp fire. Artists and jugglers were present to entertain the rest of the evening. With such a good start, I was really looking forward to the following day.

A saturday packed with demanding sport activities

After a nice start on the Friday, the Saturday promised to be a little more athletic.  I started the day with a class of core yoga drills and inversions. I had practiced yoga some time ago, but that morning, I had no idea what I was in for. The 90-minute class was conducted by Laurie. She started out smoothly, but the postures became progressively more intense. After a series of exercises, I could feel my abs burning!

Laurie then asked us to team up with someone to experiment a posture (new to me) named "handstand". I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of taking that posture nor was I convinced that I could do it. But I decided to give it a try.  After all, I was there to surpass myself! I teamed up with a yogi named Joëlle, who got the posture right on her first attempt. Then came my turn… Despite Joëlle’s help, I was unable to bring my legs up. My arms were like jelly. After several attempts, all unsuccessful, Laurie came to my rescue and helped me do the famous handstand. It sure wasn’t easy, but I am very satisfied with myself for having persevered and finally managed to do it.

Yoga-danse and other activities

I had signed up for the aerial acrobatics class and was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the weather conditions forced the organizers to cancel the activity and replaced it by a yoga-dance class. I was a bit disappointed, but at the same time intrigued to discover this discipline new to me. The teacher, named Karelle, invited us all to enter in a dimly-lit room. Quite a contrast to the brightness outdoors!  Karrelle explained that yoga-dance is not a discipline based on choreographies. It consists in giving free rein to one’s body, moving as one sees fit, exploring space and letting one’s body express itself. It was fun and comforting. I felt good and relaxed after 60 minutes of expressive dance.

The next activity I had planned was a SUP excursion on the lake. But with the wind getting stronger, the activity had to be cancelled. The good news was that the introductory course to aerial acrobatics was postponed to the following day. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend it, and I am sure that everyone enjoyed it. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the Festival site, until I walked to a structure where I met participants familiar with aerial yoga postures. I ended up experimenting a few of them, all quite amusing and amazing. My curiosity was satisfied.

The day continued with "pétanque" and Molkky tournaments. The atmosphere was serene and relaxed. People were happy to be there and enjoy the site within the context of such an outstanding event. All conditions fulfilled to let go completely.

I am 100% sure that Sunday was truly awesome.

See you next year for the 3rd edition of the Mudra Festival.