Yoga Guide Ambassador Eli Vydrova visited New Zealand’s 6th annual International Yoga Festival and explored the workshops and yoga. This is a story with photos from her experience from this amazing festival.

International Yoga Festival located at the sacred land of a retreat space Kawai Purapura was my journey to Pure Presence with over 100 mind-blowing workshops, surrounded by magical night glowing native bush and nourished by connections to the pristine land, open-hearted people and mouth-watering food.

@yogarhythmstribe Ecstatic Dance Journey

As my feet touched down in Auckland I had a joyful feeling of landing home, even more so when I arrived to the festival and decided that there is no space for shoes. My quest for presence started then when I could feel a poke of every little stone, the droplets on the grass during cold mornings and the feeling of my yoga mat as I started moving in packed Prana Flow class led by an amazing teacher and ecstatic dance DJ Ria. The live music by maori infused Franko Heke and Katana that accompanied us during the class kept following the energy of our movement and I lost myself inside and higher. What a treat for my feet…and my heart! Revolution of the heart was the theme of the festival this year. This theme weaved through all the classes, talks and workshops. My heart bursted open through an intense breath & body synchronization in Hatha class led by the infamous Mark Whitwell, and every other inspiring workshop I had a chance to go to. There were so many and so little time to catch’em all!

Prana Flow with DJ Ria @riainaction and the YogaRhythms tribe @frankoheke and Katana

There was so much to choose from in the evenings as well: kirtan stage, ecstatic dance journeys, Jyoti’s chai tent, drumming in the teepee, kombucha chill zone and nature all around me. One of the nights I picked the last two. I sipped on freshly brewed lavender kombucha poured by ooomazing bros from Organic Mechanic. Even here I noticed myself in the moment letting the flavor roll over my tongue as if I was tasting wine. This probiotic medicine tent was a perfect place to connect with local kiwi’s who then took me to explore the bush and glowing worms! Glowing worms – whaaat? They were like stars and little galaxies illuminating our path as we walked deeper into the forest. I didn’t want to leave and again I was fully absorbed in the present moment watching these little creatures turn their lights off when I got really close.

Cacao ceremony with @levi.banner and @connie_causa

All my pure presence kiwi adventures and the daily fun activities left me feeling hungry. Even for a hardcore raw vegan, Kawai Purapura was ready with a true Māori (natives of New Zealand) medicine food. I tasted raw crackers, chia jars and one special treat: kawa-kawa (local Māori medicinal plant) covered bliss balls. One bite at a time, I savored the slightly bitter taste followed by a sweet nutty-dates base. Yum!

Probiotic @organicmechanic boost lounge under control of @benjamin

This festival really stood out for me with the quality of workshops, people and environment. Through connection to a vast array of open hearts at the festival I experienced the Revolution of my own heart and my feet survived the quest for Pure Presence which is the meaning of Kawai Purapura.


I’ll be back next year and you too can chase your own experience of Pure Presence here:

Photo of partner yoga in motion

Photos and story By Eli Vydrova

Eli Vydrova | Creatrix of Feelings Through Photography, Women’s Intimate Health Coaching and Yoga

Eli is a passionate yogini with a creative heart of a photographer and proud yet humble creatrix behind She has been to over 60 countries to collect pieces of a puzzle. The puzzle brings together her photography and women’s pelvic floor workshops that she teaches around the world.