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Soul-searching on the sands
WEEKENDS are supposed to be relaxing, a welcome break from the fast-paced hustle of weekdays. Sometimes, though, wracked by Sunday blues at the thought of the upcoming week, a thought creeps in: Am I doing this "relaxing" thing right? Maybe we need less of a mindless escape from our routines, and more of a mindful, maybe even "ommm"-azing retreat to recharge our batteries.
You might find the answer at Soul- scape. The creator of the outdoor yoga, music and dance festival, Marc Dass, says: "Yoga is a great introduction to a healthier lifestyle and a different community with positive vibes only. I started practising yoga 10 years ago, and it's given me a sense of calm, and changed my perspective on how I relate to myself and others. I'm just more mindful of how I live my life now."
The 33-year-old came up with the concept of Soulscape a-year-and-a- half ago, as a place for wellness enthusiasts and yogis to connect with each other, and experience yoga in a different avatar.
Mr Dass expands: "People always do (yoga) in a studio, but they should also experience the elements of nature. That's why the beach lends itself very well - you get all four elements, and it becomes more of a complete immersion. A yoga retreat, if you please."
The second instalment of the festival returns to Tanjong Beach, albeit in a much-larger fashion. Instead of festivities lasting six hours, Soulscape 2015 is a full-day event, and it has also added many more yoga sessions, numbering over 20 in total. The highlight will be the 60-minute sunset yoga session, featuring the globally famous yoga instructor Cristi Christensen and live music curated and played by local DJ and yogini Amanda Ling.
Mr Dass, also the co-founder of local online lifestyle magazine and event organiser intheLoop says: "I'm personally most looking forward to that session. You're going to be surrounded by hundreds of other yogis, and the energy is going to be electrifying."
While the event is meant specially for those who have already discovered their passion for yoga, those who haven't are still very welcome. Catering to them are activities like a Tahitian dance performance, live world music and the SoulMarket, which features food-and-beverage stalls, along with retail therapy of the best kind - organic and natural.
There'll be a kids' corner complete with yoga and other fun activities to keep the little ones gainfully occupied as well.
Being held right after the sunset yoga session, the SoulVibes music festival offers tribal beats of dub reggae, a mix of electronic and ethnic sounds, urban folk, and hip-hop. Highly acclaimed brothers Krsna and Govin Tan from Flame of the Forest will be performing alongside DJs and musicians from Singapore, Bali and the Netherlands.
Mr Dass says: "Yoga is truly for everyone, and the more people that come and experience the love and energy, the better."
This year's theme of Gather Your Tribe is also an effort to extend open arms to every one. He says: "It really boils down to the idea of family. There are different communities and demographics in Singapore, and they all do different things. This is a way to bring all these different people together to celebrate oneness and unity in a positive atmosphere. It's something new."
The NUS graduate has always been involved with entrepreneurship, having studied technology entrepreneurship as well as political science at university. Following his studies, he embarked on a startup project which worked on converting cars to natural gas, and then went on to launch nine cafes over a five-year period, before starting his dream project intheLoop.
He explains: "My goal was always to start a platform, but I didn't know what it should be for. So when I got more involved in yoga, people were always talking about how there's no space to connect instructors to students."
Taking that on board, he launched the platform as more of a directory, but within six months, the demand for more information on everything from which studio to practice at to the best places to get healthy food blew up, and intheLoop evolved into what it is now: a place to find out about all things yoga.
About his own experience with yoga, Mr Dass laughs: "Honestly, I was at the gym with a buddy 10 years ago, and we saw this advertisement for a power yoga class. We wanted to try it because it had the word 'power' in it, so we thought it sounded cool. But 40 minutes into the class, I was annihilated, and nearly didn't make it through the whole way."
He adds: "Yoga is more women- centric now, and I used to think it was easy. Having done it myself though, I realised just how physically challenging it was to stretch your body in so many ways. It's interesting that women have taken it over now when it was started by men, and women were, in fact, banned from participating until the 1930s!"
Soulscape will be held at Tanjong Beach in Sentosa on Sept 12 from 9am to 10pm. Tickets start at S$25. To buy tickets and for more information, visit www.soulscape.sg