The Loft Yoga Lounge is proud to provide a complete yoga experience. We recently touched base with the team to find out more about what makes their offering so unique.
Can you explain to our Consciously Living readers, what the Loft Yoga Lounge offers and why you are unique from other yoga centres?
As many yoga proponents are aware, yoga involves far more than just asanas and deep breathing (although they are an integral part!). It’s an ancient culture and wholistic lifestyle that is just as applicable in our busy modern lives as it was thousands of years ago. Its teachings span the topics of body, mind, soul and beyond. The Loft is meant for all types of people. Those who wish to add a little exercise and wellness into their weekly routines can attend our casual Yoga and Dinner nights. Those who need to unwind, and wish to find deeper inner peace and connection can try our Meditation or Kirtan (Mantra Meditation) sessions. For those who really want to dive into true yoga culture, understand more about the world, themselves and how Bhakti Yoga – the Yoga of love and devotion, can be integrated into our lives for greater peace, fulfilment and purpose, we run interactive workshops and discussions every Wednesday evening, guided by an experienced practitioner. We also run cooking classes once a month (see our website for more details). Last but not least, every Sunday night we hold our Free Spirit Festival, which is an amazing night of feasting, singing, dancing and spiritual knowledge.
The Loft Yoga Lounge offers a free vegan meal after your yoga practice, how did this idea come about?
As I mentioned earlier, Yoga culture spans all aspects of life, and what is more important than food?!
Every programme offered at the Loft comes with an incredible vegan/vegetarian meal afterwards. It’s always been this way and it always will. Yoga is about being conscious of everything we do, and cooking is a part of that. We say that the consciousness of the cook affects the food. If you eat something that is cooked with love (think of a nice family dinner that your mother has made you), then you will imbibe that love when you eat the meal. It feels very different to how that greasy takeaway burger makes you feel, right? There is more than just a physical aspect to food, and so we craft all of the food at the Loft with love, with the intent of uplifting the consciousness and giving all of our guests a spiritual boost, as well as a physical one!
The Vegan/Vegetarian aspect is also of special significance, because how can we truly spread love, if it was harm that brought food to our plates? We are happy to provide for different dietary needs, just give us a call on the day you are coming and let us know ahead of time.
The community seems to be a main focus at The Loft (which at Consciously Living we fully align with), can you tell us more about your involvement with the community and why you feel this engagement is important in today’s modern world?
Yoga in the deepest sense means connection. Everyone at the Loft, from the cooks to the yoga instructors, to the dishwashers and the manager – are volunteers. At its heart, The Loft is a community of people always reaching out the wider community, from a place of understanding, compassion and the will to help anyone and everyone access the peace and happiness already present inside us all. We have been involved for at least the last decade in providing a quiet, safe space in the heart of the city. We’ve provided cheap, healthy meals for perhaps hundreds of thousands of University students, many food donations to the city mission, a place for people from all walks of life to come and form deep friendships and a find sense of community that is often hard to come by these days. The Loft has facilitated many other programmes in the wider community over the years also, including involvement in special event yoga classes, festivals and meditation events, university programmes and food stalls. You are hard put to find an Aucklander that hasn’t heard of the Loft. We are always happy to welcome anyone who would like to be involved. The Loft is run by the love and ongoing effort of the community.
What was the concept behind offering your Free Spirit Festival and who came up with the idea?
The Free Spirit Festival is our favourite part of the week! It’s when the community really comes together to create something great. It features an upbeat Kirtan session, with dancing, singing and a spiritually surcharged atmosphere, as well as a different guest speaker each week, elaborating on many different topics under the yoga umbrella, relating to life, spirituality, desire, connection and purpose. And of course.. our biggest feast of the week! We often hold special events, including themed nights, international speakers and authors, drama’s, live music and much more.
You could say that the idea for the Free Spirit Festival came from the founder of this spiritual movement in the West, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He started festivals like this all over the world back in the 60’s, with feasting, singing, dancing, and yoga knowledge, and the Loft has adopted this same format 50 years later. The idea for the Loft, a place to learn and teach about yoga culture came from our very own Devamrita Swami, an internationally acclaimed author and public speaker, who still comes back to share his wealth of knowledge and experience at our Free Spirit Festival’s several times a year.
Where can our Consciously Living community find you and what workshops do you have coming up next?
You can find us on the web at www.theloft.org.nz and will find plenty of information about what we offer and when to turn up. Our classes and workshops don’t require any booking ahead, so just come along 10 minutes beforehand. You can always give us a call if you want to know more. This month’s cooking class is booked out, but we will release details about the next one in the next few weeks, so sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss out!
Your favourite quote?
‘As soon as there is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies – whether man or animal – we can understand the presence of the soul.’
Bhagavad Gita 2.20, Srila Prabhupada.