Home Arts / Culture Byron Spirit Festival ‘We Are The Mandala’ Launch

Byron Spirit Festival ‘We Are The Mandala’ Launch

Last weekend saw the launch of Byron Spirit Festival
‘We Are The Mandala’ and Natalie Grono was there to capture it for us through the following series of black and white photographs. You can see more of Natalie’s work here: http://www.nataliegronophoto.com

The weekend-long programming is being held on  April 20th – 22nd  at Elements of Byron and will include even more teachers and nurturers to assist in your journey of self-discovery and development. Taking place during school holidays, this is the perfect event to bring your kids along to with workshops and concerts for the whole family. So delve in, find your inner zen and Namaste your way to Byron Spirit Festival this April to experience these additional treats ……
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Tymi Howard is an International Yoga Teacher, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Owner of Guruv Yoga Studios in the United States. Pioneering the Vinyasa Yoga movement in Central Florida, Tymi is dedicated to inspiring people to discover their life’s purpose through the art of yoga and is known in the yoga community as a “Teacher of Teachers” and a skilful graceful practitioner, students fall in love with her dynamic, playful style of teaching, artistic sequencing and music! She is a self-proclaimed travel junky, blogger, animal rights advocate, lover of God, Life and Yoga. Forever a student and grateful to all of her teachers, students and family who continue to inspire!

Clinical Psychologist, Yoga Teacher and certified iRest Teacher, Dr Lauren Tober is a Mullumbimby local, with a passion for health, healing, happiness and awakening Lauren integrates the best of western psychology with ancient yogic wisdom, both on and off the mat.

Discovering yoga and meditation at the age of 19 as a suggested preventative for back problems, Rachel Zinman has been practising yoga for 30 years and has taught for over 20. Beginning her studies in Sydney before later moving to Byron, her training continued in the Iyengar and Astanga methods, with one of her first teaching engagements taking place at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium in Lismore as the Head of Dance. Also, a published author and writer for many online and print magazines about lifestyle and yoga, she has recently released a book, “Yoga for Diabetes” which references her own journey with the condition and how yoga has helped her to maintain balance.

Finding his calling at a young age, John Weddephol has been teaching yoga since his late teens. Having studied with some of the most influential teachers in the west, in 2004 immersing himself in the tradition he studied with two of India’s time-honoured lineages dating back to the Vedanta lineage of the great revivalist Adi Shankara and Kriya Siddha yoga lineage of Patanjali Siddha. Featured as a presenter on many international festivals including the Bali Spirit Festival, The Berlin Yoga Festival and the Byron Spirit Festival Retreat, Australia, traditional without being a traditionalist, John’s students love his quick wit, sense of humour and down to earth practical approach.

Zoe Braithwaite has worked extensively in local and international communities in Australia, Asia, Europe, the Middle East at various Festival and corporate event. Zoe and her company YogaJoy will be joining us to share their popular Acro-Yoga classes and will also be setting up an Acro-Yoga play space in the Spirit Village.


Prominent live band and Gold Coast locals Tijuana Cartel’s sound is made up of Mexican and Latin-inspired music combined with house and electronic influences. Like a genetic graft of The Chemical Brothers with that flamenco guitarist you once saw killing it in the streets of Seville, Tijuana Cartel’s sound is high-energy, guitar-driven, world music for indie kids. Carey O’Sullivan and Paul George met at high school and found their feet in the 1990’s underground venues of Australia’s most famous beach city – the Gold Coast. A multi-cultural melting pot with pristine beaches and rainforests framed by skyscrapers and theme parks, it was the perfect place for the duo to perfect their sound: an east meets west wonderland for those seeking sensory overload, euphoria, fat beats and heavy, bass-fuelled electronica

Embracing the future without losing sight of the past, OKA draws upon their indigenous connection to place and country to create their signature feel-good Australian earth sound, an irresistible blend of influences spanning house, big beat, reggae-dub, Roots, Jazz and world music. Oka brings to the Festival a mashup of dance & downtempo electro beats marinated in the mystical spirit of the Dreamtime.

Acclaimed musician, social entrepreneur and yogi, Edo Khan is passionate about transforming lives, empowering individuals and uniting communities. The co-founder/CEO of A Sound Life, Australia’s first charity to transform the lives of people in need through free music, yoga and meditation programs, since ASL’s inception in 2014, thousands of people facing hardships in healthcare facilities (hospitals, aged-care, disabilities, mental health) and underserved communities (women’s refuges, youth-at-risk, underprivileged children) have experienced renewed wellbeing, personal empowerment and joy. Edo was one half of the much-loved musical duo Edo & Jo who toured extensively (performing at festivals such as Bali Spirit, Byron Spirit, Bhaktifest USA) prior to Jo’s passing in 2015.

Music and senior yoga teacher, Dr Didge Dolphin (Arpana Obrien), brings his joy of life from 28 years as a GP and didgeridoo playing. ShamanaTara-Lungurrma is a sound medicine woman, grandmother, senior yoga teacher, songwriter, psychologist and singer of the ancient whale song lines.


Beth Borowsky is one of Sydney’s most inspiring yoga teachers. She will invite you to a Yoga Ceremony and guide you through a practice that nourishes your body, spirit and soul. Steve Mazabow and Vanessa Forbes are well-known, passionate musicians, specializing in the use of their unique black hemp didgeridoos, Mayan flute and exquisite voice, and are recognized as masters of guiding groups and individuals on sonic sound journeys towards healing.


From a life rich in musical pilgrimage, comes the auditory download of Murray Kyle, a mystic troubadour based in the visionary town of Uki. Get a hit of this contagious soul restoring music that will sweep you off your feet, out of your head, and into your heart.

Calling to the singers, the priestesses, the priests, the ones who carry stories and dreams and words and songs. Spiritsong Shamanic Choir, led by Rebekah Ray, is an experiential workshop that offers a space where one is encouraged to open up to the sacred world of sound that resides within all beings. Bring your medicine drums… Bring your rattles…

Founding member of Wild Marmalade and Dream Drone, Si Mullumby has extensively toured the world, including three concerts at the Sydney Opera House and has been labelled “an astonishing solo player”, by the creative director of Cirque du Soleil Guy Caron. As a young man, Si Mullumby left studying Medicine and single-pointedly dedicated his life to play the didgeridoo. He learned to play as he hitchhiked throughout remote areas of Australia and much like an Australian ‘Into the Wild’, Si spent long times in the wilderness alone, setting the fundamentals of his unique style in place. He has pushed the boundaries of what can be done with the didgeridoo and has inspired a generation of players in Australia and around the world.

Matiu Te Huki has a background in traditional Maori performing arts, theatre and fronting great bands with his powerful yet smooth, unique voice. He has performed with the likes of Fat Freddies Drop, Rhombus, Pitch Black, Tiki Taane, Anika Moa and many more of New Zealand’s top artists. Te Huki is known for his amazing vocal skills and energy, his ability to powerfully connect with, hold and lift a crowd and the soul-stirring messages in Matiu’s music are positive, inspiring and unifying. His music has a strong Maori flavour using haka, chants and traditional Maori instruments.


Australian medicine woman and owner of Her Voice Heals, Chrissie Fireman has a strong connection to the Andean path of cosmology. She is a home-school mother of 2 children, believing her medicine to be foremost that of a mother. After 13 years of facilitating Empathic Communication sessions, Firemane is incredibly passionate about this modality of healing and is currently preparing a training vehicle for this modality of deep healing. As musician and ceremony woman, she is now singing as Pachamama in the Peruvian band Amaru Pumac Kuntur. Firemane leads spiritual pilgrimages and masters retreats in her spiritual homeland of the Peruvian Andes.


Jeffrey Slayter is a top researcher of Leadership and Self Awareness and its application to the high-performing awakening entrepreneurs who are building businesses for a better world and committed to impacting generations to come. He brings disruptive insights (in a good way) – adventures, coaching, training, events, high-end masterminds, iconic guests, tools, tactics and edgy information, with the intention to turn not just your business – but you – inside-out.


Australian born artist Ella Noah Bancroft is a storyteller, teacher, tantric and mentor, with her Indigenous heritage playing a key role in her story. Her ancestral links have given her a platform for expression within the arts. She studied the art of Indigenous dance from a young age and danced in both the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic games and the Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge. Over the years, Ella has been travelling the world, acquiring new skills, ways of thinking, ancient wisdom and local teachings. She is passionate about re-wilding, sexual engagement within the world and the feminine force and is devoting her life to making this work accessible in the West.


Sacred chant artist, ecstatic dance DJ, singer-songwriter, producer and student of the sacred Rob Webber has been uplifting souls in Bali for over ten years. The resident DJ for legendary ecstatic dances at the Yoga Barn, he also leads cacao ceremonies, kirtans and sound healing sessions. He is also the musical director of our sister Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali.

Paul Dumais has been studying martial arts for over 20 years and Qi Gong with Master Liu for over 15 years, through whom he is accredited as a Level 2 Instructor. He has a knack for getting complete beginners to perform high-level forms and thus has had great success teaching at many festivals.

West African performer Gabriel Otu offers contemporary/ African dance performance and workshops, vocals and percussions for his band Happy Africa. Happy Africa offers the crowd an array of percussion on the balafone, djembe, doun doun, kick bass, shakers, bells along with guitar and a groovy bass. This high-energy world music has the crowd bouncing and the soul singing.


One of Australia’s pioneers of integrative and holistic medicine, Professor Marc Cohen is on a mission to realise worldwide wellness and help people tame their toxic load, so they can live long happy and healthy lives. A registered medical practitioner with degrees in western medicine, physiology and psychological medicine and PhDs in Chinese medicine and biomedical engineering, he is currently Professor of Health Sciences at RMIT University where he supervises research into wellness and holistic health including studies on nutrition, herbal medicine, yoga, meditation, saunas, hot springs, lifestyle, elite athletic performance, the health impact of pesticides, organic food and detoxification. He is the author of ‘Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidenced-Based Guide’, and ‘Understanding the Global Spa Industry’, as well as has published more than 90 academic papers, chapters and articles on holistic health.

Greg Lahood (Dr G) has been involved in the transpersonal psychology movement for 30 years. He has degrees in cultural anthropology and psychotherapy and has written many scholarly articles on transpersonal healing, women’s birth shamanism, the way of Beauty and the Sha’heed. He lives locally in Byron Bay and co-facilitates an ongoing co-inquiry into the healing dimensions of attunement, awareness, and the immediacy of spirit. Lahood’s first book will be published this year: Sha’heed: Loves’ Inquiry and Seven Sacred Relationships as a Path to BeautyWith over 15 years’ experience, Gary Gorrow has worked with thousands of people from all walks of life. His innovative meditation and mindfulness programs are sought after by some of the world’s leading companies. Gary’s students come from a range of backgrounds and include celebrities, CEO’s, health practitioners, lawyers, creatives, grandparents and children. He is passionate about empowering people with techniques that enable them to re-engineer their lives inside and out. His approach synthesizes the best of modern science and ancient consciousness-based practices.

Franko Heke is on a mission to raise consciousness through his music and workshops. Drawing on ancient mantra in combination with his own cultural roots, Franko’s devotional sessions are bound to coax your own divine voice into the open with his distinct fresh sounds for today. With years of touring rock music under his belt, his compass has drawn him north toward a movement, which brings people together, celebrating our unique gifts, our connection to one another and to mother earth. Sought after for yoga, meditation and transformational festival events, Franko’sboundless energy for the betterment of all beings.

With a background in pole dancing, ballet, tap and musical theatre, dance has always played a major role in Nikki Rhodes life. Her own personal journey has revealed the therapeutic benefit of movement as an erotic expression. Deeply moved by the rhythms of Latin America, Nikki is passionate about sharing the transformational magic of dance as a powerful tool for emotional release.


Mark Whitwell, Angel & Gopala, Sophie Sofree, Tymi Howard, Flo Fenton, Dean Gladstone, Hajiwan, Delamay Devi,
Zoe Braithwaite, Dr Lauren Tober, Rachel Zinman John Weddepohl.

Amaru Pumak Kuntur, Tijuana Cartel, OKA, Lulu & Mischka, Sacred Earth, Haitch, Edo Kahn, Benjamin Last (TempleSTep Project), Murray Kyle, Matiu Te Huki, Robert Weber, Dr Didge Arpana, Beth Borowsky, Steve Mazabow, Vanessa Forbes, Rebekah Ray.

Geash Bowler, Travers Ross, Paul Dumais, Suebee Fae, Kathryn Riding, Gabriel Out, Rob Weber.

Christabel Zamor, Matiu Te Huki, Katie Manitsas, Ella Noah Bancroft, Jemma Gawned.

Professor Marc Cohen, GregLahood, Miranda Chance, Gary Gorrow, Jeff Slayter, Chrissie FireMane, Jeremiah Abrams, Ixchel Love & Dustin Brooks Si Mullumby, Franko Heke & Nikki Rhodes, Xavier & Issia.

The festival’s new Byron Bay home will see the program running between Byron’s premiere new events complex Cavanbah Centre and the luxurious surrounds of Elements Of Byron. With over 50 workshops and panels on yoga, music, dance, healing, creative arts, sustainability and various cultural ceremonies over three days on April 20th – 22nd 2018. Byron Spirit Festival is an opportunity to check out of your every day, and choose your own spiritual adventure in the idyllic surrounds of Northern NSW.

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The Common Ground of Byron Bay. If you wish to contribute, please contact: Kirra Pendergast P: 0408 068 824 E: kirra@commongroundaustralia.com


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