Dharma Shakti, founder of the Yogalution Movement Collective in Long Beach, never expected that her desire to give back to the community would gain such momentum. Yoga on the Bluff was a way for Shakti to practice Bhakti, a devotional yoga, and ever since teaching the first class seven years ago, the sessions have grown exponentially. “What started as one class a week with three to four people has turned into daily classes with attendance of anywhere from 40 to 200 plus people,” Shakti said.
In an effort to continue making yoga and health education accessible to everybody, Shakti and the women who have continued to donate their time to the community, Theresa Devi, J-Heart, Ashley Jade and Roz Kumari, have planned the inaugural Mantra Mela for Saturday, August 16 from noon until 8:00PM.
Shakti explained that Mantra Mela is a way for the Long Beach community to learn how to get the most out of yoga. Dharma said, “We wanted to create something accessible and affordable for the residents of Long Beach. We also want the Long Beach Community to learn about what a well-rounded yoga practice is, because it isn't just doing the physical poses and exercise, although that keeps the body really healthy, we also want to keep the heart happy and the mind fed with useful knowledge.”
Mantra Mela is not just an opportunity for residents to better their own yoga practice; it’s also a way for Long Beach to uplift its image as a city deeply involved with the health of its citizens. “As we offer more education on health, more folks will be seeking out products and services that align with supporting that health and hopefully in turn, business owners and entrepreneurs will cater to that need,” Shakti said.
Mantra Mela is a family-oriented event that seeks to educate and uplift the community with a day packed full of yoga classes, music, health and wellness workshops, youth performances, arts and crafts and an array of vegetarian and vegan food. Internationally-renowned musicians and teachers include the Kirtaniyas, Govind Das & Radha, J.Brave of The Luminaries, Nada & Gypsy Kirtan, Ram Bhakt, Raghunath Cappo, Yochanan & the Kirtan Wallahs and Srikalogy. Local musicians, kirtan wallahs and youth groups that are a positive influence in the Long Beach community will also be performing.
Tickets are $28 per person with discounts for large groups. As part of the yoga tradition of seva, or service, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to New Life Society, an organization that feeds Long Beach’s homeless community members on a daily basis.
The festival will take place at Bixby Park on 130 Cherry Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802. You can purchase tickets and find out more information on the Mantra Mela's website. For more information about Yogalution Long Beach, click here.