By Michalla Bolton

The Rasa Lila Festival began with real estate entrepreneur Nathan Bangs and it is now in its seventh year. Nathan was interested in yoga and decided to bring all the different studios and teachers from the area together. The focus? Health and wellness.

Sarah Lesch is helping to orchestrate this year’s Rasa Lila Festival and took the time to speak with PIM concerning all the interesting details.

PIM: Tell us all about this years Festival.

Sarah: Our bodies move in different ways so we wanted to bring in a fusion fitness stage, bar class, piyo, pound class, and acro yoga. Standup paddle boarding yoga will also be a huge hit this year. It includes free time on the water but also involves classes every 45 minutes. These classes are hosted by C-Ride SUP out of St. Petersburg, Florida. C-Ride will bring over boards and anchors for the benefit of those practicing. We took suggestions from the community and gathered together what we felt were the most popular practices. We also set up a huge obstacle course out on the open field. It’s fun, interactive, and playful. There are so many ways to be fit. It’s not just about your body, it’s about your mind. We have meditation classes and sound healing, which is out of the box for some people but it’s all about feeling recharged at the end of the day. We have brought in about thirty different teachers that all have something valuable to offer. Rasa Lila is only about 30 minutes outside of Tampa but you really feel like you’ve gotten away. A lot of people get so busy with life that they step outside and don’t even notice nature anymore. Rasa Lila also allows people the opportunity to just breathe and get back in touch.

PIM: Can you tell me more about the sound meditations?

Sarah: We will be doing crystal bowls. This activity is considered to be a meditation. As you lay down you get the healing effects with sounds that interact with your nervous system. We also have things like drum circle for kids. Beautiful Chorus will be the mid-day concert. They feel their sound also has a healing and soothing property for listeners. There will also be a vendor village selling flip flops made out of yoga mats, yoga attire, hand painted yoga mats, seated massage vendors, a chiropractor doing free scanning, a Thai yoga massage vendor, and a woman who’s doing breathe work. During breath work people are taught to breathe deeply, which seems simple but is a huge link in the puzzle of living healthy. People don’t realize how shallow they breathe and when they breathe deep they start to see improvements in their health. Conscious Coconut will also be selling healing coconut oil and donating proceeds from every bottle to Feeding America, which is helping to end child hunger. This company was founded by Danielle and more information can be found at: http://consciouscoconut.com/. A variety of food and juice vendors will also be available, which in general is aimed towards healthy living.

PIM: So you mentioned you had a drum circle for kids. What other opportunities are there for the younger crowd?

Sarah: Well it’s not babysitting. We call it a family festival. We are bringing families together; kids under 12 get in for free. Kids and parents have a chance to have fun and connect. We have a yoga studio that runs that whole area. They have something going on every hour for the kids. It’s a very interactive group.

PIM also had the chance to speak with Amada Riker who is opening the Saturday festival with the acoustic flow and closing out Saturday night with the closing circle.

Amanda: My music partner Matt Bellina and I have made a niche for ourselves in the community. I was a yoga teacher and he was a solo acoustic performer. I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to sing. Matt and I both loved yoga so I said, “why don’t we sing live for yoga classes?” So we started small at the studio I worked at and found ourselves being hired for multiple studios all over Tampa Bay. We call it Live Acoustic Flow. We rehearse and prepare appropriate feel good songs that go well with the pacing of a yoga classes. So when the opportunity rose to do this at Rasa Lila we wanted to join in. We play live for an entire class and then we’ll do a closing circle with hundreds of people in it. We are hoping that we continue to build as we have had really good feedback thus far. As long as it’s flowing yoga we find that this live music is appropriate.

Amanda has also been in charge of social media this year acting as an assistant coordinator, reaching out to vendors and teachers in the community.

Amanda: This year there has definitely been expansion and I can tell people are getting really excited. There seems to be another level to the festival and its popularity for 2015.

For people looking to get in touch with or hire Amanda and Matt check out their FaceBook page: Matt and Amanda Live Acoustic.

Rasa Lila will kick off at 7 p.m. on November 5th. The festivities continue on November 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Camping options are available in the same location as the Festival. The kick off gathering will involve a live DJ, a yoga teacher, meditation room /night club, a fun upbeat free form dance, and yoga class. Beautiful Chorus will also close that night with a healing sound mediation. Camp fires and indoor bathrooms with showers are available to all.

With a consistent turn out of over 1,000 visitors and sales 20% higher than they have been in the past this year’s Rasa Lila Festival has already proven that it will be an explosive hit. So come join in and recharge your life. Bring sun screen and sneakers, drink plenty of water, and have fun unwinding!


Note: A portion of the Friday night registration sales will go to funding St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Saving Grace Project http://stpetersburgfreeclinic.org/savinggrace/.



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