So I went to a yoga/dance day-retreat at Growing Heart Farm in upstate Harlem Valley Wingdale.
When you get off of the MNR you're greeted by a beautiful yet eerie deserted insane asylum. You're then guided by Abby Paloma founder of Growing Heart Farm along a paved road passing by golf courses..and then you hook a left...into the woods??? That was an unexpected turn.
Please excuse my pictures. My iphone camera lens is scratched up.
Seriously in the woods. A thin trail lasting about 10 minutes.
Until you reach the farm. Beautiful. Worth the two hour train ride!
So Growing Hearts Farm is a CSA farm, providing produce in multiple areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn. They open their farm for camping, educational purposes and dinners under the name Farm To Yoga. Every event (their last dinner for the season is October 12) is different. The one I went to specifically coordinated with DJ Natasha Blank of Get Your Dance On.
It's a full day event with ground tours and tasting from the land...
Lounging under huge tent toppled with oversized pillows, guitar playing, singing, hula hoops.
And then Abby warms us up with a few yoga sequences. Yoga in nature feels 10xs better than a studio with hardwood floors. Mats were provided but many opted out.
Natasha then eases us into the dance session, making us walk in a large circle on the plush grass. I feel silly. I look at the ground a lot, not wanting to make eye contact. My movements are stiff.
Soon, the music changes, Natasha makes us close our eyes and sway to the music. I am shy. I close my eyes. I peek to check out the crowd but everyone is in their own element. I sway. Then sway some more. The music is actually very therapeutic. I relax. We flow. The music picks up. Confidence grows. The energy rises. Everyone is dancing--not like when you're at a bar/club trying to "look" a certain way. There's no sexy music playing.
Natasha partners us up, switches us, partners us up again with another yogi, repeat. You feed off of everyone's energy. I feel no judgement. This is actually...easy. We synchronize our movements with each other--our elbows, then our feet, you lead, I lead. By the time we walked around in circles again, my chin is lifted and I am prancing around.
This clip is after over an hour of dancing. I think it's amazing how comfortable we got in our skin-- sober. No drugs, no alcohol. It's a liberating feeling-- finding your inner ninja.
Afterwards we ate an earthy, nourishing meal made grown from the farm.
Exchange: $75 (full experience: Yoga, Farm Tour, Dinner) $95 (Gold Plate: Yoga, Farm Tour, Dinner and extra support to your farmers) $55 (Dinner ticket: Farm Tour and Dinner) $115 (Yoga, Farm Tour, Dinner and Camping)
Since that Saturday I've been to two other events by Natasha. She's dj-ing at the Afro Punk Festival this weekend. Follow her on Facebook. And of course, visit Growing Heart Farm!