Yoga at Glastonbury Festival
by Julian Lindars
Glastonbury Festival is known as one of the largest music festivals in Europe and is generally represented in the media as a weekend-long gathering of hedonistic excess. Beyond the vast crowded arenas and the non-stop party scene is a wealth of activities, all of which embody the “true spirit of Glastonbury” – a desire for a better world, progressive thinking, spiritual growth, celebration of diversity, and a sincere and effective attempt to put ethical and environmental concerns at the heart of its business practices.
At the back of the festival site, on slopes that rise above the hubbub of the main site, is a tranquil area known generally as the “Green Fields”, where the alternative thread that has sustained the festival over the last 50 years continues to flourish. Here you can find low-key entertainment, good wholesome foods, stimulating debates, crafts and activities, and in the Healing Field, a wide range of therapies and spiritual teachings. Many people stay up here the whole time, only occasionally making a foray into the mayhem below, but many more wander up seeking rest and recuperation, and perhaps the opportunity to experience something a little different.
The yoga dome is situated at the tree-lined upper edge of Healing Field. It is a lovely hand-built open-sided construction of tree branches and canvas tarpaulin, with carpet laid over the groundsheet. The field is arranged around four healing circles named after the elements. We are next to the Air Circle with fluttering flags and suspended sculptures creating a light, relaxing but invigorating environment. It really is a beautiful place to be and many people start the day here with their asana practice. From 9am onwards we offer a day-long program of one-hour classes free, and open to all. Many styles of yoga are represented here, and I have been honoured to fly the flag for Iyengar Yoga here over the last ten years.
For many who attend, this is the first time they have ever tried yoga – and I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and appreciation shown. The festival can be quite a demanding environment – occasionally you have to deal with the overwhelmed and confused, but generally nothing a good savasana in a quiet spot cannot fix! And of course it is always good to see familiar faces in the crowd, and meet so many people who are delighted to find Iyengar Yoga in such an unexpected place.
So if you are coming to Glastonbury this year, come and find me. The timetable is displayed on the front of the Dome – I generally teach mid-afternoon. I look forward to seeing you!