Mirka & Martin - We will do everything to make the second year ,,wow and unforgettable".
It has passed several months since the Ultimate Freedom Festival. When you look back, how was the first year?
Martin: Everything about the festival was completely new to us, and in many ways challenging, as we had to build everything from scratch. For both of us, it was probably the biggest event we have organized so far. We started with the preparations a little too late, because the final decision to create the festival was made in May 2018. We put a lot of enthusiasm into it. This late start caused fewer visitors than we expected. The second side of the coin has grown into an incredible atmosphere at the festival.
Mirka: We got great feedback - and we're still getting it. People created incredible energy, so on Sunday, when the festival was over, we knew we want to do the second year. What we got back from people, but also from teachers, was so intense and honest, that we felt that everything we put into the festival personally and financially returned to us twice. For us, it was a clear message that we were doing a great thing and that we want to continue.
You have invited teachers from different parts of the world. Many of them have a long teaching and international experience and taught thousands of hours. How did Ultimate Freedom and people who came to the festival perceive it?
Mirka: They were overwhelmed by the authenticity of how people reacted to them and what they got back from them. They felt that people at the festival longed for knowledge and that they deeply appreciate what they came to give them. When we asked them about classes, they told us that it was really fulfilling for them.
Martin: When we approached them this year, they promised us their participation without hesitation. We feel that they really want to come. Last year was very costly and they also showed their support by forgiving us part of their fee, for which we are very grateful.
Mirka: They encouraged us that we are doing a great thing and we just have to persevere, and that means a lot to us.
What will be the second year of Ultimate Freedom?
Martin: Last year we were able to create an intimate, authentic and very pleasant environment. In retrospect, we are very pleased that we did not have commercial partnerships that are not related to yoga. Nothing disturbed the really intimate yoga-meditative atmosphere of the festival. And we want the same for the second year.
Mirka: The last year's Spirit was co-creation. Basically, everything was created by all, who came to the festival, and we really appreciate it. We created some foundations of a yoga community, family. We would be happy if it continues. Martin and I are more than happy to hold space for all who come and bring teachers to Bratislava, for whom we would otherwise travel through half of the world. It is important that at the end, all the visitors, teachers and also we as organizers are leaving with the feeling of ,,Wow it was something and I can not wait for another year". This is the core of the UF and we will do everything to make the second year ,,wow and unforgettable" and help people to start or deepen their yoga practice as much as possible.
The second year's theme is Get out of your way.
Martin: Yes, we were inspired by Troy Hadeed and his last year's workshop for teachers. The idea behind was to keep the teachers out of the student's way, to not block them in their progress, to teach by speaking rather than by demonstrating. And we would love to bring this message to the second year. We want our participants to approach themselves as their own teachers and to listen to what their body and emotions tell them. It is better than bringing their bodies and minds into something that they are not able to do, just for the sake of it.
Mirka: We could think about all the different ways we stand in our way to move forward. By listening to our fears we block our own progress.
Martin: Many of us are also trapped only in problem-solving mindset, and we forget our careless creative side. At the festival, we want to create a safe space where you can actually go deeper into yourself and discover through yoga and all the great teachers, what can then enrich not only your yoga practice but also your daily life and actually your problem-solving mindset. This will not change the world in the end, but it can create a little more space for ourselves, a little more Ultimate Freedom.
What teachers did you approach for the 2nd year?
Martin: The selection of teachers is mainly in Mirka's hands. Because she has lived abroad for several years in a yoga community, she has great contacts and she knows them personally. She chose the teachers to be authentic, but at the same time, they could see yoga also from an anatomical and scientific point of view and well understand how the human body and mind work and what they need. In Mirka's case, it is truly her international yoga family, which we now, thanks to UF unite with a yoga family in Slovakia and with the yoga community in the surrounding countries. That's the secret power of UF and makes me extremely excited.
Mirka: Also. many of our teachers have experienced difficult situations. The strength they have gained from it and the power of their yoga practice has transformed them into exceptional personalities. This gives their lessons a unique charm. It is necessary to say, that the majority of our teachers are senior teachers who teach other yoga teachers around the world. Amazing Troy Hadeed from Trinidad, Jolene Bayda, who has taught more than 8,000 lessons, the charismatic Troy Turi - a former Gestalt therapist from Canada, as well as Chris Magee, a UK inversion master, are coming again this year. And, of course, Leonardo Picco from Italy, who is an expert in holistic bodywork.
We are lucky enough to bring Adell Bridges in spite of her busy schedule. I admire her for a long time and I am super stoked for her to participate. The last two new international teachers are my long-time yoga brothers Slava Goloubov and Devon French from Canada. They both visited Bratislava two years ago and yoga community, especially acro yoga people truly loved them.
Martin: At the same time, we also try to connect great teachers from Slovakia with those from abroad. Therefore, this year you can look forward to the movement-somatic teacher Martin Duris and Martin Tham, who brought the Wim Hof Method training to Slovakia.
The 2nd edition of Ultimate Freedom will take place 27 - 29/9/2019 in Nova Cvernovka. All the beginners, intermediate, advanced and yoga teachers are welcomed. Tickets are available at www.ultimatefreedom.sk Discounted price for the Early Bird ticket will end on May 15th.