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(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

(This arti­cle orig­i­nal­ly appeared in Yog­iTimes Mag­a­zine — I just added all these groovy pictures)

One thing no one ever tells an expec­tant moth­er is the arrival of her beau­ti­ful, coo­ing lit­tle bun­dle of chub will be the depar­ture of her pri­vate bath­room time, reg­u­lar show­ers and any hope of an unin­ter­rupt­ed night of sleep. There might be a moth­er who escapes from this real­i­ty and we have a spe­cial name for her. Lucky.

Retro housewife with freshly made lemonade

Always mak­ing lemon­ade out of lemons

The rest of us, how­ev­er, have to find ways to keep our san­i­ty between the coos and gig­gles. Agoura Hills yoga teacher, Dror­it Rudin, had three kids with­in three years and four months of each oth­er. She tried to take care of her­self in between dia­per changes and reg­u­lar­ly attend­ed gym class­es though nev­er real­ly con­nect­ed with the vibe there. Rudin said her life changed when she found a yoga class that embod­ied every­thing she was. “There were no shoes, no one was check­ing each oth­er out, no com­pet­i­tive­ness. There was a space cre­at­ed for peace.” Rudin says the peace she found on her yoga mat extend­ed into her fam­i­ly life. “I was able to be more calm and my kids respond­ed so much better.”

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Dror­it Rudin found yoga and was able to find peace in chaos

Mal­ibu res­i­dent, Tor­rie Simshauser, had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence the first time she did yoga. “I could feel the dif­fer­ence at a cel­lu­lar lev­el,” she said. All the breath­ing and med­i­ta­tive nature of mov­ing between the pos­es eased her anx­i­ety, Simshauser said, and after nine months of dai­ly prac­tice, she decid­ed to train to become a teacher. “I want­ed to share all the ben­e­fits I was get­ting in class­es that was extend­ing out­side my class­es, like bal­ance, sta­bil­i­ty and calm­ness with others.”

Torrie

Tore Simshauser strikes a pose in Malibu

Both yogi­ni mom­mies can thank Srid­har Sil­ber­fein for their prac­tice as he was one of the peo­ple respon­si­ble for bring­ing yoga to the Unit­ed States. In the ear­ly 1970s, Sil­ber­fein opened the first yoga stu­dio in Los Ange­les in Topan­ga Canyon. He intro­duced Swa­mi Satchi­danan­da to the stage at Wood­stock to deliv­er an invo­ca­tion in front of 500,000 music fans. Over­whelmed by the largest gath­er­ing of peo­ple ever assem­bled in the Unit­ed States, Sil­ber­fein promised the Swa­mi that some­day the same num­ber would come togeth­er to chant the var­i­ous names of God, prac­tic­ing Kir­tan, or sacred music.

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Wood­stock was the largest gath­er­ing of peo­ple ever assem­bled in the Unit­ed States

Forty years lat­er, Sil­ber­fein cre­at­ed Bhak­ti Fest (which means love and com­pas­sion, a devo­tion­al open­ing up of the heart) in Joshua Tree where they do just that.

Sridhar and Ram Dass

Every year Srid­har Sil­ber­fein has video taped con­ver­sa­tions with Ram Dass shown at the fes­ti­vals he created

Bhak­ti Fest offers unlim­it­ed yoga taught by the top instruc­tors in the world. Bhak­ti Fest also has sacred music and work­shops where peo­ple learn the mean­ing behind the chants. From that, Shak­ti Fest was born which specif­i­cal­ly cel­e­brates the cre­ative divine fem­i­nine. Shak­ti Fest fea­tures addi­tion­al work­shops like bel­ly danc­ing and hula hoop, class­es in tantric and Ayurvedic.

Sil­ber­fein, born to a Jew­ish fam­i­ly, wants to make clear that yoga isn’t a reli­gion, it’s a way of life. “Peo­ple start to prac­tice and see the dif­fer­ence in their face and body and want more of that. They may decide to med­i­tate five min­utes a day. They may decide to eat cleaner.”

bi_graphics_meditation

Both fes­ti­vals are Sil­ber­fein’s peace­ful alter­na­tive to what he feels are the angst rid­den rap and rock con­certs that he says encour­age per­son­al destruc­tion through the abuse of drugs, alco­hol and rela­tion­ships. Instead, he offers guests a healthy expe­ri­ence, free of any mind alter­ing sub­stances, based on the return to a youth­ful inno­cence which he says we lose at age 8 in response to the ego’s need to pro­tect itself from the fran­tic nature of the world. “It’s very dif­fi­cult to live in the world today,” Sil­ber­fein points out, “We need a dai­ly prac­tice that keeps us qui­et in our minds, that keeps us cen­tered from the has­sle and fraz­zle of every­day life.”

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As a young moth­er, Rudin said, she was always wor­ry­ing about spe­cif­ic things that might hap­pen to her kids, things that were most­ly beyond her con­trol. “After yoga, I did­n’t wor­ry as much,” she said. Instead, she start­ed every class by set­ting a pos­i­tive inten­tion of peace and hap­pi­ness for each of her chil­dren. It spilled over into her life out­side her yoga prac­tice and she was able to feel that peace and hap­pi­ness herself.

Drorit

Some­times, Simhauser said, her kids will prac­tice yoga with her. She wants for them to have the gift of calm that she found lat­er in life. Sil­ber­fein says the Kid’s Vil­lage at Shak­ti Fest is designed to give chil­dren those very skills at an age where they could grow into them. There is music, danc­ing and pup­pets. They learn how to work with crys­tals and even get to take them home. They cre­ate grat­i­tude flags to hang in their rooms. And maybe most impor­tant­ly, they learn how to sit still for two to ten min­utes, a skill most adults can prob­a­bly use.They learn to cen­ter them­selves in the face of life’s chaos.

kids-doing-yoga

Shak­ti Fest brings togeth­er the most tal­ent­ed female yoga teach­ers and musi­cal artists. There is a Wom­an’s Tent, closed to men, run by female elders who dis­cuss sen­si­tive top­ics spe­cif­ic to wom­en’s strug­gles. “The idea is to empow­er the women,” said Sil­ber­fein. “They need to have their own space, which is closed to their hus­band and chil­dren. She can tell them it’ll make her a bet­ter mom­my and wife.”

yoga mom

Empow­er­ment was some­thing Rudin found eight years ago, when she woke up one morn­ing and decid­ed to open up her own yoga stu­dio, now called Agoura Pow­er of Yoga. “I want­ed to prac­tice the type of yoga that I loved,” Rudin said, “At the time the clos­est stu­dio was in Cal­abasas, so I cre­ate my own.” Rudin said she gets texts, emails and cards from women thank­ing her for help­ing them to recon­nect with their inner power.

o“In many rela­tion­ships, women give up their pow­er.” Sil­ber­fein said he dis­agrees with this. “We should be kiss­ing their feet in grat­i­tude for the things they do.”

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yes please

Shak­ti Fest donates a por­tion of their pro­ceeds to an orphan­age in India that is home to 18 girls. “We want to have a fes­ti­val where we can give back to the peo­ple, so after we pay our expens­es, that’s what we do.”

Shak­ti Fest begins its sixth year at the Joshua Tree Retreat Cen­ter in Joshua Tree, CA on May 13 and goes from 7am to 2am until May 16. For more infor­ma­tion go to: http://shaktifest.bhaktifest.com/ Dis­counts are giv­en to vet­er­ans, mil­i­tary, stu­dents and seniors.