From breakdancing to breathwork

We are extremely excited for the second edition of Slow Food & Yoga Festival to take place in Gili Air, October 17th-20th, 2019. Not only because the last edition was such a wonderful time, where amazing people from all over the world showed up to share their experiences and love with us, but also because THIS time, we have new and inspiring people joining the event.

One of the new and interesting yoga practitioners we have on board for this edition in Levi Banner. Starting from being a breakdancer, he made a huge lifestyle change back in 2007, when located in Arizona. Levi Banner is telling us more about his journey and how it all began:

“I started my yoga journey, because I was a dancer. Me and my friends had a dance crew, and we would stretch before and after training. One of my friends was getting into yoga a little bit, and he had me close my eyes and take a breathe in a yoga way - and I just felt this spark of energy and this awareness, that I had never noticed before. It changed my life from that moment."

“So from there, I explored yoga as a dancer and they went hand in hand for many years. Then yoga took charge more so than my dance training and competition and as a teacher. Right around that time, I found ecstatic dance instead. So things shifted from doing training for hip hop dance and breakdancing, to loosening up through ecstatic dance and going deep inside through yoga and meditation. And pranayama - the breath.” 

The breath is the key to the door inside

In his yoga practice, Levi has a high focus on breathwork. But what’s even more inspiring and interesting, is that Levi has this unique way of combining the breathwork with astrology. Ever since he was a child, Levi has been interested in astrology, which is why it comes naturally for him to combine it with some of his other passions.

“The breath is the key to the door inside - it’s really the thing that makes yoga different from other exercise forms. Breathe is connected with movement - it creates vinyasa, it creates an inward state as you move outwardly. I have always had a strong pranayama practice, along my yoga journey. It's taken precedence even more than my stretching. Since the beginning, I’ve gone to India many times to train with a master there, and he certified me to teach pranayama. The way that pranayama keeps health and vitality and a calm yet energized state - it’s just really always done me well in my life.” 

”When I moved to Bali I found breathwork - separate from pranayama - and that’s where I started bringing in the shamanic work that I was doing and the pranayama work that I was doing, and they kinda mixed together. All the ceremonial practices of breathwork that I share now are coming from this place. Everything led up to being able to share in that way. Finding breathwork has been a profound experience for me and it has been a joy to share on a huge scale. Everything is amplified since I found it.”

”I’ve been in to astrology since I was a kid - since I was a young teenager. My interest has waxed and waned and into many different subjects and modalities of astrology. But really, when I found shamanic astrology about 7 years ago, a lot of synchronicity happened. And that very special school of thought - this paradigm of shamanic astrology - just changed the way I was thinking about it all. And since then, I’ve been able to share with thousands of people personal readings, hundreds of classes, and workshops. I’m just absolutely in love with that system.”
”Astrology goes hand in hand with the yoga - it’s always been a sister science of yoga - it’s just generally the basis of the cosmos. It’s a part of nature - that everything in nature affects everything else. The vibrations of the planets moving around us and the things around us is in no doubt affecting the things we do. So to bring awareness to the astrological influences can help inform your practices each day.”

Gili Air - The Perfect Environment for a Yoga Festival

Levi is joining the second edition of Slow Food & Yoga Festival in Gili Air, and it will be his first time to visit our little paradise. We think that Gili Air is the perfect place for practicing yoga and for bringing forward the slow food movement, as the barefoot luxury vibe and vibrant community of Gili Air goes hand in hand with these topics. It is our wish to bring the local community forward and to showcase the best of what Gili Air has to offer - from tropical white sand beaches and crystal clear waters to healthy cafés and paradise yoga centres. We asked Levi how he feels about coming to Gili Air:

”This will be my first time at Gili Air. I’ve actually been to the other two Gilis just this one time. It looks and sounds like an idyllic location to come and practice yoga. Both with its natural vibrancy and relaxed atmosphere. I think everyone is gonna get a lot out of it on all levels - spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. I think it’s going to be the perfect environment for us all to have a great time together.”

”I don’t have high expectations for this festival or experience - I’m just coming to share what I can and to learn from others and just share the love and the experience in this beautiful island. I’m really excited about it - my first time in Gili Air and in this festival.I think it’s really a great cause what this organization is giving back towards - and what they are about in the first place with the slow food movement, the diet, looking at the way we eat and live our lifestyle - it’s all a really beautiful mixture of modalities. All these different subjects going hand in hand - the yoga, the food and the good cause. I’m happy to be apart and thrilled.”

Yoga except everyone

Slow Food & Yoga Festival is for beginners and advanced people. Whether it’s your first time of practicing yoga, or if you’ve been practicing for years as an experienced yogi, the classes and instructors will welcome you happily.

”It’s a great place for beginners to come try things out. There are some really great and experienced teachers to get an opportunity to practice with. And you know, having the relaxed and intimate environment of this island. I think it’s a great time, as people are on vacation or on a spiritual journey of being in Gili Air. I think it’s an opportunity to try some new things in a way that’s going to be supportive and nurturing of their vacation lifestyle as well.”

”For the beginners out there - yoga is not about being flexible or strong. You can show up any way you are and take it from there. Yoga except everyone. It’s really not about getting something - it’s about letting go. Releasing tension and pressure. It’s not about building it up and trying to win at anything. It’s more about being present and trying to go somewhere. So just show up and breathe into presence with us. Just come and breath with us - See you there!”

Read more about Levi Banner on his webpage.
Instagram: @levi.banner

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