The Lamu Yoga Festival has just completed its fifth edition. We spoke to Monika Fauth, the festival's founder, about the festival and how it's developed over its first five years.
How did the ﬁfth Lamu Yoga Festival go?
Everything went beautifully. I'm really happy. And I'm really really tired.
We had 26 teachers from around the world, who led 150 yoga classes, meditations and workshops, as well as lots of special events, all over Lamu Island. I wanted everything to look perfect. It's all about the details. From the moment people arrive in Lamu they need to feel they're taken care of. We put a lot into the festival – it's not only about yoga. It's the tents, the festival booklet, the programme, and all the activities. People came from everywhere – from America, Australia, Europe and South America – and I feel that we reached our full potential with this festival. We don't plan to expand any further, but in the future we will work to enhance what we have. This isn't a normal festival, based in one place. It's in multiple places, on an island with no cars and a beautiful unspoilt beach. You can't ﬁnd this anywhere else in the world, and that's what makes the Lamu Yoga Festival unique.
How did it compare to previous Lamu Yoga Festivals?
It was much broader in scope. Yoga isn't only about asanas – the physical practice. It's deeper than that. So we invited teachers who oﬀered classes in lots of diﬀerent styles of yoga. This year, for the ﬁrst time, we had a swami from India, who practises the Art of Living. He brought more knowledge. People are interested in the history of yoga, and the Patanjali Yoga Sutras – or explanations. Yoga is a science. Some people think it's a religion, but it's a science of humans – how the mind works and how the body works. It's more than 10,000 years old.
We also had Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, meditation and chanting, and all these were really popular. For the ﬁrst time, we had Vedic chanting – that was new and beautiful – and we had restorative yoga. These sessions were full. I believe people are searching for something; they want to know more. Even our teachers evolve. I spoke to Salim, who teaches strong physical classes in Vinyasa Flow and Capoeira, and he loved the Yin Yoga he attended. We're all aware that we want to slow down. Life is too fast. We need to take more time over it, and yoga gives us that opportunity. The dune walk, too, was new. We walked over the sand dunes to parts of the island tourists don't usually visit, looked over the bay at the ﬁre of the sunset, and we did meditation. Most yoga festivals take place in an enclosed space, so being able to do that was very special. That's the beauty of Lamu. Even if you don't do yoga, you can walk barefoot on the beach and you feel connected.
We also had plenty of physical sessions: Vinyasa Flow, Core Yoga, Ashtanga and Acro-yoga. SUP yoga – out on a paddleboard on the sea – was oﬀered for the third year and
was fully booked.
And we had aerial yoga for the ﬁr