Gyuto Monks of Tibet creating a sacred sand mandala at the Mullumbimby Spirit Festival.
Gyuto Monks of Tibet creating a sacred sand mandala at the Mullumbimby Spirit Festival. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Getting into the spirit

HUNDREDS of people have immersed themselves in the festival spirit of yoga and meditation over the past few days.

And where better to hold the inaugural Byron Spirit Festival than Mullumbimby, where old meets new, mainstream meets meditation, ageless values meet new age, the war memorial is right next to the Earth Spirit Yoga teepee, and the CWA Rooms are not too far from the Sacred Goddess Space.

Ross Both and Joy Pietsch, of Horsham in Victoria, were taking it all in.

They were attending all three days of the festival and using it as an opportunity to connect with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet on their Infinite Present tour of Australia.

They flew into Brisbane and are spending five days in the area.

"It's been very interesting," Ms Pietsch said.

"Mullum is a beautiful little town."

Visitors from even further afield are Tina Chen, 26, of Taiwan, and her friends from China, Cassie Luo, 19, and Winfred Wang, also 19.

Tina has been in Australia for a year on a working holiday and her friends, both university students, are halfway through a 24-day trip.

They, too, liked what they saw.

Just behind the war memorial and next to the Civic Hall, Earth Wind and Fire met Earth Spirit Yoga.

Gerard Williams and Tanya Adams, of Byron Bay, had set up their teepee, welcoming all-comers to "stoke the fire of thanks and grati- tude and embrace the heartbeat of the drum to help all connect".

Earth Spirit Yoga promotes "the transformational power of the ceremonies and the sacred rites of the Inka" at various events in Australia, a retreat at Byron Bay in June and journeys to sacred sites in Peru and Bolivia in October.

The Byron Spirit Festival was held at a number of indoor and outdoor venues in Mullumbimby.

It concluded yesterday and festi- val co-producer Alison Pearl said it had been a phenomenal success.

"This is the first of its kind in Australia, not a yoga trade fair but a real festival," she said.

"The response from here and overseas has been beyond our expectations, with close to 1000 people taking part.

"You haven't been able to walk down the street without bumping into someone with a yoga mat."



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