As visiting yoga instructor Eric Paskel says of the upcoming Mammoth Yoga Festival, what makes it unique is that it’s produced by two folks, Kevin Green and Sarah Anisman, who are relatively sane. “You can’t believe the drama that goes on at festivals,” said Paskel, a lecturer, author and former owner of a string of Yoga studios. “And the musical headliners [Trevor Hall and Ozomatli] are phenomenal, and those concerts in the Village at Mammoth are free.”
Paskel is emblematic of how things in Mammoth are just a little different. He’s the anti-establishment Yogi. And as he says, “Yoga is not about tightening one’s ass, but about getting one’s head out of it.”
The class Paskel will teach next Friday at 3:30 p.m. is a collaboration with a DJ and a mixture of Yoga, philosophy and ‘80s rock ‘n roll. And he’s not gonna lecture you about inclusivity, or justice or any of the current buzzwords. As far as Paskel, author of “The Emotional Empowerment Movement” is concerned., yoga is about obliterating one’s external/false self. It’s not about outward bromides and platitudes and causes. It’s not about “breathing in gratitude and breathing out anger.” It’s about trying to meet one’s flawed self head-on.
That class will be held on the Canyon Lodge roof.
On Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Paskel will teach a relationship seminar in the Emerald Room at the Village at Mammoth.
And as a guy who found himself in rehab in the mid-’80s before he’d even finished high school, Paskel has no illusions about his own flawed self.
He tells a funny story about traveling to India and finally meeting one person in the Yoga field whom he didn’t deem was full of s&*t. And then he had this humbling realization. “I’m in huge trouble. I’ve gotta go home to my own studio and tell my clients that everything I’ve said to that point is total B.S.”
“What’s killing us, all of us, is ego.”
Paskel alluded to the divided nature of the country, and observed that even if everything went to one’s liking – if the opposition just fell away and we were left with all our political preferences, that it would be personally disastrous. “If the world changes to your liking, you’ll get worse, not better, because if the world becomes aligned, you’ll think it’s you… and that doesn’t address anything.”
“We listen to our own B.S. every day. The fake news is in our own heads. So how can we not be f&$ked [and fooled] by the external [fake news happening all around us]?”
Green says booking Paskel for next week’s festival, the fourth overall, is no accident.
“Last year’s programming got a bit political. This year, we’re trying to focus on emptying the mind – and having some fun!”
While it’s called the Mammoth Yoga Festival, Green says “Yoga and Wellness” is what we call ourselves. There are many workshops and programs that are not yoga – Dr. Jennie Walker’s got one on “functional medicine” for example. There are also relationship seminars, sound healings, meditation and more.
Single day passes are available for purchase as well as entire festival passes.
And there’s also, as Paskel mentioned, an incredible musical lineup. “Robert Richards [Events Manager at the Village at Mammoth] would tell you these [Trevor Hall and Ozomatli] are two of the biggest bands to ever hit the Village stage.”
These are free events open to the public.
So enjoy this awesome weekend in Mammoth … before the forest fires start!