by Karen Kramer, Dubuque Yoga & Oneness Festival Blogger
Welcome to the 2017 Dubuque Yoga & Oneness Festival! We are so excited to celebrate another festival filled with great presenters, awesome yoga, and connection with like-minded people. We are especially delighted about the evolution of this event to include the element of ONENESS…We Are One!
Scott and Julia Theisen are owners of Body & Soul Wellness Center and Salon Spa, founders of Heart-Centered Yoga Teacher Training & Personal Transformation in Dubuque, and are the visionaries and co-producers of the festival. It’s evident that their commitment to building safe and sacred community, celebrating diversity, and trusting divine inspiration has been their guiding force. As Julia points out, the festival began as a clear message that “just dropped in” in the early morning hours in the fall of 2014. She knew it was the right thing to do as several big names, like Sadie Nardini and Max Strom, seamlessly came on board as festival presenters.
Now, in this third year, the Theisens felt that divine guidance was asking them to “play a little bigger” as Scott described it, and “be a bigger source of light”. Recently, I had a chance to talk to them about the focus for the 2017 festival. The couple discussed the importance of “oneness” and how they were inspired to rename the event the Dubuque Yoga & Oneness Festival.
What does the term “oneness” mean? How did it become a part of the yoga festival name?
Scott: “Our definition of oneness is the energy of love that connects everything and everyone. It lies within each of us and connects us to each other.”
Julia: “We have always had the very strong component of ‘sangha’ at the festival which means “safe, sacred community”. Sangha and oneness intersect completely. Sangha really is a deep expression of love. We knew that we would dedicate this year’s festival to the theme of “oneness” and felt guided that we needed to make it a very explicit part of the name.”
Scott: “This feels like more of a reflection of who we are and what we’re about. We have always been dedicated to personal transformation. Now the Dubuque Yoga & Oneness Festival incorporates personal growth beyond yoga. It empowers and welcomes in those people who are interested in the opportunity to experience powerful personal and spiritual growth and to raise consciousness. The yoga festival has always been about celebrating diversity and being inclusive no matter what the experience level, age, color, or size. Now, with this expanded view, we are drawing in those who never thought that a yoga festival was for them.”
Julia: “There are even yoga practitioners who don’t see themselves as one who could go to a yoga festival. It’s an eye-opener for people drawn into the experience to realize that this yoga festival truly is for everybody! Everyone belongs and it’s right for all yogis and everybody interested in personal transformation…and maybe the people who come for the personal growth will try a bit of yoga.”
How will we see “oneness” represented at the festival this year?
Julia: “It’s represented in who we ask to be a part of the event. It starts with the conversations that we have with them and everyone who will be involved in any way. Several of our yoga presenters will teach sessions built around the concept of oneness, and there will be at least one workshop per session regarding this theme. The concept and intention is in our website and it’s a part of all our information. Then everyone involved will naturally hold this vibration of love—sangha and oneness—so those who decide to come to the festival are tapping into that energy. With this great vibe there is an expansion of light. We will feel that at the festival and then we all take that back with us from the event. Really, nothing else needs to happen!”
Scott: “At the festival we will embrace and embody oneness and sangha through the sessions offered, the entertainment, and the opening and closing ritual. They all serve to elevate that energy. In some ways, it seems separation has taken center stage in our world right now. We can come together and celebrate our diversity as a community. We can celebrate our connection. All people belong and are welcome. Part of the draw is that you can come and be with like-minded people who are committed to oneness and living more compassionately and being more aware. We believe there is an awakening happening-- of realizing our oneness-- and this festival is an expression of that. “
Be a part of the awakening. Early bird registration begins January 11 through March 1, 2017. Like our website, join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and announcements of presenters beginning December 26th. We are one!
Karen Kramer is a yoga instructor and festival blogger.