The Groove Yoga Festival at Amfora, hvar grand beach resort
Alongside organizing the Groove Yoga Festival, Liz Huntly and Roland Jensch teach workshops, retreats and teacher trainings internationally in both English and German. Rooted in their own intensive practices, their teaching is infused with fierce love, joy, and laughter.
What is The Groove Yoga Festival and how did it all get started?
The Groove Yoga Festival is a celebration of movement, music & community. Our first festival took place on a small farm property in rural Ontario, Canada, where we have access to a 200-year-old barn that is the most amazing space for practicing yoga and gathering together. We were so inspired by that experience that we decided to take the Groove all over the world. Since then we’ve run festivals in Berlin, Cologne, and Goa, as well as continuing the Ontario festival. We’re so excited to see the Groove land in Hvar this September!
Who are your guests, who attends your festivals and do you need to be experienced Yogi to visit?
Our aim is to make the festivals appealing to a really wide audience. We love seeing people from all walks of live come together in such a joyful setting. Groove participants are hard-core yogis, new beginners, hippies, hipsters, vegans, meat lovers and everyone in between. At our last festival in June, the oldest guest was 86, the youngest guest was an 8-day old baby. Everybody is welcome!
What is main goal of this festival?
We’re trying to create a space where people can experience yoga without the usual clichés. Our programming includes a wide range of yoga styles, we look to include other movement practices such as dance or martial arts, and our DJs and musicians offer everything from electronic music to jazz.
We were looking for an Island location that was accessible to mainland Europe but a little off the beaten track. When we came across Hvar, we knew it was perfect. It’s such a stunning island—we love the colour of the water, we love that it’s a small town but has so much to offer, and we absolutely love the local people. Everyone we’ve worked with in organizing this event has been so friendly and laid back.
What are you expecting from Hvar festival and can you give us some highlights of the program?
We’re really excited to have some very high profile teachers for such an intimate experience. Participants can expect to get up-close and personal with Dylan Werner, Doug Swenson, Twee Merrigan, McKenzie Miller and more. We’re also really excited to have local star Nina Vukas joining us. Lots of the classes will include elements of live music—DJ Drez, Daphne Tse & David Lurey will be offering some amazing sound experiences. And of course we’re looking forward to having time to relax, enjoy the sunset and maybe sip a little sljivovica ;)
Do you plan to organize Hvar festival every year?
We don’t have any plans for Hvar next year yet. But who knows…usually when we have a really good time somewhere, we’re keen to do it again!
What is Yoga in your personal life?
We don’t really separate yoga and our personal lives. We do our ritual practice in the morning—meditation, movement. But we try to keep the spirit of yoga alive in everything we do—how we eat breakfast, how we communicate with each other, how we approach the work of teaching and organizing festivals. Nobody is perfect of course—sometimes we act in ways that are not very “yogic”! But yoga certainly doesn’t stop as soon as we get off the mat.
Based on your experience, which are the main elements of Yoga everyone can incorporate in their everyday life to make quality of life better?
Simply paying attention is the most important piece. Observing your breath when you’re angry or stressed. Paying attention to how you eat—not what you eat, but how you enjoy and savour the food. Noticing the small moments of beauty that you might often take for granted in a day or in your relationships with others. Mostly when we pay deep attention, we realize that the things we thought were really bad or difficult are not as important or as challenging as we thought; we notice that many of the things we thought were ordinary are small, wonderful miracles.
For all details about The Groove Yoga Festival: Island Jam visit www.thegroovefestival.com/croatia. Note: Croatians and residents/citizens of all Balkan countries can purchase tickets at a special reduced price! A further 20% discount is also available for groups of 6 or more.