This past February I experienced my first ever conscious festival at Envision in Costa Rica, and it was unlike anything else I have ever been a part of.
Part music festival, part hippie retreat and all learning experience, the Envision festival in Uvita, Costa Rica was my first taste of what the conscious community has to offer. I attended the festival as part of a 9 day long trip with Evoke Passion Project. The founder, Andria Lew’s aim was to be the guide to many people’s first ever conscious festival experience, as she had been to several before and found herself in love with the entire concept. Truly, it was the best way to introduce myself and the other travellers in my group to Envision, because this type of festival truly benefits from a bit of a guided experience because there is SO much to experience! So let me break down the different facets of my Envision experience.
While Envision is a Conscious festival, music is a huge facet of it. DJs from around the world participate, along with folk singers, full bands and artists spanning a huge range of genres, from folk to electronic, mainstream to experimental, world to local, and everything in between. And just like with my previous festival experiences, one of my favorite things about Envision was the constant soundtrack it gave to my life. In one weekend, I took in a pair of quirky and beautiful folk singers playing hip hop covers with just an acoustic guitar, I lounged in a hammock letting the music from the Sol Stage wash over me as I floated in and out of consciousness, and danced to some amazing mash ups at the Luna stage. My favorite musical moments of the weekend were definitely dancing in the crowd to the middle eastern inspired musical stylings of Beats Antique, and discovering the amazing artist Matthew Human, someone I can only describe as a conscious country artist whose twangy tunes literally floated into my mind as I hovered between waking and sleeping while lounging in a hammock in the village (one of my absolute favorite activities of the entire festival). I also got to experience no less than there iterations of the musical stylings of David Block, including The Cat’s Pajamas, Gone Gone Beyond, and Human Experience, the soundtrack to my first ever sunrise set as I and the remaining festival goers danced literally until the sun came up to deep and delicious sounds that Block curated at the Luna Stage as he played us out of an incredible festival weekend.
If you would have told me that I would camp at a music festival and wake up before 10am every day to do Yoga, I would have immediately sent you for psychiatric help. But that’s exactly what I did! And not only did I do it, I truly enjoyed it and looked forward to starting each day at the festival by taking care of my body and my mind. The beauty of a festival like Envision is that it’s world renowned for its Yoga curriculum, and therefore attracts some incredible teachers and some avid students. Under the tutelage of teachers like Amber Zuckswert, Emelie Rose and Moksha studio founder Jess Robertson, I experienced the restorative powers of yoga, the power of collaboration between Yoga and Pilates and was privileged to learn from one of the foremost authorities on the practice under the shade of beautiful palm trees in the heart of the Costa Rican jungle. But the yoga wasn’t just relegated to the scheduled classes in their dedicated spaces. Aside from people just busting out into yoga poses all over the place, Envision is where I discovered the concept of AcroYoga. Part thai massage, part circus art and all theraputic and fun, this form of partner yoga involves a base and a flier, and usually a third individual playing the role of spotter for safety’s sake. The roles are all pretty self explanatory, the resulting energetic and visually stunning moves and poses that result from those collaborations must be seen to be truly appreciated. I got the chance to try out Acroyoga for myself at the EPP retreat later on my trip. I can’t wait to try it again, and I wish that I’d given into my curiosity and tried it at the festival to have all that much more acroyoga experience under my belt.
Far from the usual fare of pulled pork, hot dogs, hamburgers and poutine (if you’re in Canada) that you’d normally find at a music festival, Envision featured some amazing, healthy and locally sourced food to feed famished dancers and overheated festival goers. As part of their commitment to sustainability, Envision aims to eliminate one time use, so if you wanted to eat at the festival, you either had to bring your own plates and utensils, eat only what you could hold in your hand, or rent a handy set from the festival as part of their efficient and environmentally friendly dish rental system. Once you had that aspect figured out, Envision became a healthy foodie paradise, with vegan and vegetarian options galore at stands like Krishna Kitchen, the Envision café or the Burrito Ninja. Meat eaters could treat themselves to a delicious beef kabob (grass fed of course) at El Lonche, and if you were in the mood for something refreshing, you could indulge in a healthy and thirst quenching popsicle, though the name of the stand escapes me, even if the memory of the taste lasts forever.
*photos by Nadia Elkharadly unless otherwise watermarked
Check back next week for the second half of my Envision experience!