h’OMgrown Fest isn’t about selling yoga pants, but creating mind space and an even greater food culture in the Pemberton Valley (and the universe)
The Things I Love about Pemberton list gets longer and longer every year, but the entry that is written in ALL CAPS and underlined 6 times right now is THE PEOPLE.
I love discovering that the always smiling face of my server at my favourite restaurant belongs to a wise dynamic energetic woman who is a fully fledged yogi, the founder of Whistler’s Yoga Conference (the original yoga gathering in Whistler before Wanderlust landed), and the driving force and visionary behind next weekend’s h’OMgrown festival. One little town bursting at the seams with multi-dimensional human beings. Yeah.
When I saw the poster at Mile One Eating House last year for the first hOMgrown Festival, I thought, cute. Clever name. Right on, Pemberton. But I’m busy and not that bendy – neither raw nor radiant (I eat white bread. And I like it) – so I didn’t think it was for me. But after talking with Tanya di Valentino about what’s planned for the weekend, I’ve done an about-face, and am clearing my schedule like mad, so I can attend at least some of the sessions. Check out the schedule online. People can still register. And because of space constraints at the Studio (located next to Local Motion Therapy and the skate park, at 1411 Portage Road), the workshops will sell out.
A conversation with Tanya di Valentino, hOMgrown’s founder
Tell me your Pemberton story. How long have you been here? How did you end up here?
I’ve lived between Whistler, Nelson and Pemberton for the past 14 years. I left southern Ontario shortly after graduating from university in Guelph with a plan to snowboard for a season and then head to Australia to attend teachers college. I started dating my husband 4 months after moving to Whistler and decided to stay! We bought a home in Pemberton in 2009, spent a couple more years in Whistler working and here we are today!
Give us a glimpse of your passions?
My passion in life is to co-create a world that I want to live in one choice at a time and if I can create and hold a space for others to want to do the same, on any scale, then my passion is satisfied. I allow myself to be inspired by people and their perspectives everyday.
What’s your yoga story? When did you start practicing?
I started practicing the physical aspect of yoga in 2003 at Neoalpine Yoga. I’d been studying the philosophy of oneness since my first Chinese philosophy course in university in ’99 and taking particular interested and inspiration in Taoism (or Daoism).
When did you start teaching? Why? What drew you to it?
I began teaching in 2006 . I was drawn to the idea of relating my experiences of love, health and happiness to others and to connect with people from many different demographics be it age, culture, profession…and have them share their experiences with me. In many ways, teaching practices of yoga for me is an incredibly meaningful continuation of study in the philosophy of oneness and in the recognition of oneness alike.
Why a food and yoga festival? What’s the connection there? How did it start?
When I went to India to study yoga with an incredible and traditional hatha yogi, Yogrishi Vishvketu, my perspective shifted drastically to that of loving the food that I was eating. My family is European (Italian and Ukranian) and in many European families, food is the star of the show and is highly respected and prepared with love and kindness so I’ve always had this influence in my life.
From the perspective of teaching yoga, I realized that choosing loved food (that is food that is grown, harvested, prepared and consumed with love and respect) is an accessible means of shifting perspective towards one that has a consciousness expanding foundation.
As we start to acknowledge the food that we consume, where it comes from and the energetic charge that it offers our bodies we automatically begin to expand our point of view to see more of the big picture.
In yoga philosophy, the “outermost” sheath (or frequency band) of our human existence (the 5 sheaths are called “koshas”) is annamaya kosha which is the physical sheath that is nourished by the food that we choose to eat. If we consume food that is cared for and loved, then we nourish our bodies with the same energy of care and love and this will penetrate throughout all of the sheaths (energy, mind-stuff, wisdom and bliss)…the opposite also applies. Maintaining a clean body whose energy lines are free and unobstructed through eating a pure diet and caring for your digestive system with yogasana (physical practices of yoga) are important features in the holistic practice of yoga.
Who is behind the h’OMgrown Festival?
Although there is much support from friends, family and teachers who are cheering on this little festival gathering and helping when they can, I am a solo driving force in making this happen. I had spent over 3 years working with a friend in the past to create and hold 3 the Whistler Yoga Conferences and then took a year off of event organizing to re-vision what I wanted to create.
What’s this vision mean: “a now festival for manifesting your future?” Can you explain that to someone who doesn’t really spend a lot of time in that headspace? (Me.)
The vision for this festival firstly is to keep it as organic as possible as far as the organizing of it.
I like the energetic feeling of this very simple grassroots event and I’ve purposely chosen not to seek any corporate sponsors.
I believe in the purity of the wisdom that is being shared by our amazing teachers and so having a corporate sponsor feels like it would compromise the message of the weekend.
When I describe the festival as “a NOW inspired vision for the future,” what I am referring to is that each and every choice that we make in our ordinary daily lives is like the planting of a seed that will mature and manifest as our future.
For example, if we choose to purchase the organically grown apple that sits beside the non-organically grown apple then we cast our vote to see organic practices strengthen and non-organic practices weaken in the future. If we choose to attend a yoga class or other activity that supports wellness rather than choosing to go to the bar to drink then we upshift the possibility for us to continue to support wellness in our lives. All that it takes is one choice to completely re-direct our lives to one that develops into a life that is directed at lasting happiness, peace and love.
The element of big-picture thinking is also very prominent in the weekend and I hope that many people will show up to support our fundraising event “Reach for Nepal” that will be an evening of family friendly yoga taught by a group of wonderful yoga teachers blended with the sweet beats of Pete Cronin from PembertonDJ.com.
A significant portion of h’OMgrown Fest is geared towards understanding the mind and using this understanding as a platform to expand consciousness and enhance the quality of our lives through self-empowerment:
- Teachers such as Shahar Rabi who is the Clinical Program Director at the Orchard Recovery Centre will lead us through his 2-part workshop, “Yoga, Family Life and Staying Sane;”
- Depth Psychology Masters student, Lauren Sherman who will offer us her workshop “Using the Mind to Shape the Brain to Serve the Mind;” and
- Rya Letham’s, “Raw Chocolate Yoga” will explore the correlation of the nutritional properties of the ingredients in the chocolate and the effects our thoughts and emotions have on the nutritional value.
All of our workshops will be very rich in wisdom and education, met with an equally rich supportive space where participants are welcomed and cared about by our awesome team!
Last year was the first festival here in Pemberton. How did it go?
Last year was nothing short of wonderful.
I just loved the looks on the faces of the participants as they have many “aha!” moments and feel a positive shift of perception.
We were a small, intimate group but the energy of those that showed up was potent and effective to the vision of the festival.
Some of the highlights were all of the workshops of course, the fun Abundance Market with vendors who truly love what they do and want to inspire a light and bright future with their work. We had a evening Reggae Kirtan Dance Party led by Kostaman’s new band One Love Collective and just having so many beautiful and conscious people celebrating and learning within the gorgeous Pemberton Valley setting was a dream come true!
I truly hope that continuing this festival and growing it organically year after year will be possible. I’ve had to do a last minute re-structure of the weekend layout to account for lower registrations then I’d hoped for to support my original weekend plan but I know this new plan will be even better than Plan A. I love intimate settings and personal attention, especially when we are delving so deeply into the mind-stuff. There are still a few full weekend passes available for $148 which will allow you to attend all of the workshops offered throughout the weekend and individual workshop drop-ins are available on a per class/workshop rate that range from $15-$28.
Check out the festival website for more info. And consider investing some of your time and energy next weekend in the kind of Pemberton you’d like to live in… Uncorporate, grassroots, radiant and friendly, where people, and groovy events, flourish.
Celebrate local, organic love!