Mindfulness Fest overloads quad with introspection

By Cory A. ThompsonAsst. Arts & Feat. Editor – coryetc@gmail.com

Photo by Cory A. Thompson - Asst. Arts & Feat. Editor African Drum Ensemble performs for a dancing crowd at the festival.
Photo by Cory A. Thompson – Asst. Arts & Feat. Editor
African Drum Ensemble performs for a dancing crowd at the festival.

With the poise of a yoga instructor, the speaker held his hands above his head and turned to address the silent crowd comprised of closed-eyed meditators sitting motionless under the spring sun.

“I want you to focus on your breath, the movement or your energy,” said Brian Lumb, a chiropractor and wellness instructor based out of the River Arts District. “Take a deep breath, and after the third breath bring your body to its most difficult position.”

Overhead, a gyrocopter rips through the quiet. On the other side of the quad, past legions of hula hoopers, slack liners and aging hippies, the flying machines’ pilot steered the device via remote control. The speaker chuckled as the participants in his body mindfulness workshop began to open their eyes and glance around for the source of the full roar that pierced the sky.

“There might be a few distractions, but try and focus on your breathing,” said Lumb as he began to wrap up his presentation. “And remember: You all are badasses.”

As Lumb’s talk on body mindfulness concluded, the crowd turned to Jesse Goldman, Mindfulness Festival organizer and UNC Asheville student.

“In the next booth over we have some Buddhists leading a mindhacking workshop that should be a nice compliment to the body work we just did,” Goldman said. “Be sure to participate in the face painting as well, and stick around for the African Drum Ensemble that will be playing in ten minutes time.”

Goldman served as the ringleader for Mindfulness Fest, an introspective heavy sensory overload that ran from 9-1 a.m. last Saturday on the quad.

“This festival is what I imagine the inside of Jesse’s mind would look like,” said Aaron Kreizman, a sophomore who facilitates the on-campus spoken-word club. “It’s beautiful.”

The weather remained a balmy 70 degrees and sunny for the duration of the event. Summer came early and brought with it the opportunity to spread yoga mats on the cement in front of the library and climb past budding flowers in the maple trees.

“This is Jesse’s dream come alive,” said Kaitlyn Mattiace, a sophomore studying mathematics.

Goldman said he has bigger dreams than this festival.

“Mindfulness Fest is about showing people the potential for the world we could live in,” Goldman said. “If we wanted to.”

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