If you’ve ever been to a music festival you know damn well how exhilarating and memorable they can be… but at what price?
Festivals are expensive, they require planning, and time away from daily life. They are physically demanding on our mind and body. Yet we willingly suffer the consequences of 3+ days of running and dancing from stage to stage, getting little sleep, and eating poorly. Not to mention the 10hr road trip to get to the festival grounds or your aching low back due to sleeping on the ground all weekend.
By day 3 it may be challenging for you to enjoy your favorite artist because you’re mentally drained and your whole body is sore. You’ve waited 6 months for this moment, played it out in your head 100 times, and now you can’t even enjoy it… I feel you, I’ve been there. 4 years and 14 music festivals later- I missed countless opportunities because I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared.
Then I became determined to maximize my fun:exhaustion ratio at each festival. After much deliberation – I decided these 5 yoga poses were the key to success. They can be practiced pretty much anywhere, by anyone, and are designed to keep your body and mind fresh. (And to ease the integration back to ‘real life’)
1) Legs up the wall
Wait that doesn’t even sound like a yoga pose? You’re right it doesn’t– yet this simple and underrated pose could not be more perfect for music festivals. Just lay flat on your back and put your ‘legs up a wall’ for 10 minutes – pay attention, can you feel the access blood leaving your feet?
- Sleep better – Helpful for over-stimulation & to recharge your batteries
- Rejuvenates sore legs & feet – Your feet will thank you!
- Relives mild back an knee pain – ensure your low back is flat on the ground (use a pillow under your low back if need be)
Best Practiced: Right before bed, grab a hot tea and put your legs up a wall!
You may feel funny practicing this one but something tells me there are much weirder sights and sounds right around the corner. Find a patch of grass and take care of yourself! Swing your right leg over your left & swing your right arm under your left arm. Hold for 10 breaths and switch sides.
- Full body stretch – Targets thighs, hips, shoulders, wrists, and upper back
- Energizes the body – By flushing blood from one side of the body to the other
- Stimulates Immune System – Improves function of lymphatic system and flushes kidneys
Best Practiced: Right before you enter the festival grounds for the day! (just make sure you warm up with a walk before)
3) Seated Meditation (Dhyana)
If you only picked one from this list, I would recommend seated Meditation. With all the stimulation around you, calming your mind will help you feel more present allowing you to savor each moment. If you have never practiced meditation, don’t sweat it, it’s nothing crazy. One simple technique: Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, close your eyes and mindfully count down from a 100. Focus on your breathe and counting slowly. I recommend using ear plugs when a quiet place is hard to find.
- Relieve Stress – slowing down your sympathetic nervous system means less Cortisol (stress hormone)
- Be more present – Calming your mind makes it easier to truly enjoy your experience
- Improve mood – Meditation increases serotonin production (chemical that regulates mood and behavior)
Best Practiced: Make it the first thing you do when you wake up – convenient timing will ensure you don’t forget. If you already have a meditation practice – do what you do.
4) Supine Twist (Supta Parivartanasana)
Supine twist is another extremely simple pose with tremendous benefits for the festival goer. Find yourself a comfortable patch of grass and lay on your back, how are those clouds looking? Keep shoulders glued to the grass, cross your right knee over your body towards the ground on the left side, gently gaze over to the right. Hold for 10-15 breaths and switch sides. Be gentile, don’t force anything.
- Improves digestion – with limited food options, this will help you stay light by keeping regular
- Stimulates detoxification – Counteract your unhealthy decisions last night
- Stretches entire spine – low/mid/upper back & neck all get stretched simultaneously
Best Practiced: When you’re taking a break from music and laying down on the grass in the shade.
This one not only feels great but it stretches major muscle groups and energizes your mind! Locate a safe place, spread your legs wide and slowly fold forward with a flat back bringing your head towards the ground. Play around with bending your knees and shifting from side to side to get into those sticky spots. Hold for 5-10 breaths, complete 2 sets for optimal results. Use your core strength when exiting the pose to protect your low back.
- Stretches major muscles – Your groin, back, hamstrings, and hips will get a good stretch
- Decompresses the Spine – Gravity compresses your spine when standing, reverse the effects!
- Calms/energizes the mind – Inverting calms your mind & provides fresh oxygen to your brain
Best Practiced: After dinner and just before the headliner!
“Ear plug Asana” – protect your ears with earplugs so you can keep coming back year after year! You can still hear just fine, they just cut out the damaging sound.
Study the poses – Before practicing these yoga poses on your own I recommend learning from a licensed teacher. Correct form is important to realize the benefits and it will protect your body for the long term
Embrace the crowd – don’t be surprised if others join you when you start practicing!
Attend scheduled classes – Bonnaroo has yoga every day – take advantage of these fantastic instructors!
Have you ever practiced yoga at a music festival?