Before arriving at Lightning in a Bottle, I knew this festival was going to be different. Camping, music, yoga and spirituality all in one festival? It sounded too good to be true. From the eclectic electronica artist lineup to workshops on essential oils, this weekend was bound to be memorable. However, there are a few golden tidbits of knowledge that I unanticipatedly gained along my journey at Lightning in a Bottle. Check them out:

Music Connects People Unlike Anything Else in the World

Despite the fact that we live in a world that is "connected" more than ever, it's human nature to seek-out deeper connections that our social screens can't offer. The modern day man craves to connect with others in a more intimate way, and it seems as though music is the only cure for our indisposition. Luckily, festivals like Lightning in a Bottle gather tens of thousands of people each year to commemorate and center themselves around live music. Throngs of festival-goers travel far and wide to more than willingly tune-out of their busy lives while tuning into themselves, the humans around them, and most importantly, the present moment. Not to mention, the amount of countless connections with the audience as an entirety during DJ sets like Mr. Carmack and Big Gigantic was unlike anything else I've experienced. To feel so connected and in sync with strangers that I've never met, and will never meet, is truly amazing. It's festivals like LIB that bring us together, keep us humbled and make us feel alive.

A time to get connected with friends and strangers (Photo courtesy of Aaron Gassman).
A time to get connected with friends and strangers (Photo courtesy of Aaron Gassman).

America's Digestive Problem May Stem from the Way we Think About Food.

One of the panels at The Learning Kitchen, a culinary space where informative workshops about nutrition took place, focused on digestive health. Being a vegan myself for digestive reasons, I pranced my way over to this panel, curious to learn about what all the discussion would entail. One of the most valuable pieces of information I learned is that the way we understand and discuss food in America is different than other countries. In the U.S., when we're done eating, we say that we're "full," therefore, we eat until we're "full." However, in other countries, when one is done eating, one vocalizes that he/she is "satisfied" or "no longer hungry," therefore he/she eats until he/she is no longer hungry. I was astonished by different it sounded to be "full" or to be "satisfied" or "no longer hungry," so, I tried it out myself that night while eating dinner and when I was nearly finished, I asked myself, "am I no longer hungry?" instead of "am I full?" In effect, I most definitely ate an amount of pizza more fitting to my body. Instead of stuffing my face with as much vegan pizza as possible, I slowly chewed each bite and became more mindful of my eating than ever before.

Dirt Don't Hurt

Okay, okay I'll admit it: at first I seriously was just disgusted by the amount of dirt on myself and, quite frankly, everywhere around me at the festival. Without access to my bathroom, I would be unable to practice my somewhat complex (but totally worth it) daily skincare routine. What if the dirt caused a breakout? What if I got a sunburn? The anxiety kicked in. However, as the weekend continued, I began to realize that dirt isn't that big deal and that I shouldn't waste my time getting stressed out about something that's so miniscule and out of my control. I was stuck in the desert for a few days and was going to get dirty so I needed to get used to it. And I did get used to the dirt, in fact, I got more than used to it because I sort of miss it! Being exposed to dirt also has health benefits. NWF.org's latest report states that "Being exposed to healthy bacteria, parasites, and viruses that will inevitably create a much stronger immune system."

Yoga in the desert (Photo courtesy of Juliana Bernstein).
Yoga in the desert (Photo courtesy of Juliana Bernstein).

There's No Such Thing as Too Much Yoga

That's right, you heard me ladies and gents. You can never practice too much yoga. And at a place like LIB, you can get your namaste on for as long as you'd like. The gathering offered an incredible 12 hours of various free yoga classes each day, and boy were they addicting. One day, I spent nearly my entire day practicing downward dogs and warrior poses and I don't regret any of it.

The Longer The Hug, The More Connected You Feel

While having the pleasure to interview Dream Rockwell, Lightning in a Bottle's co-founder and the director of Lucent Dossier Experience, Rockwell embraced a rather long hug with me right after I was introduced to her. Following the tight squeeze, Rockwell peacefully shared that a hug lasting 30 seconds helps form a bond and a sense of connection between the huggers. And it's not just Rockwell who's preaching this good news. Scientists have also concluded that hugging for 20 seconds releases oxytocin which can make someone trust you more. So next time you hug someone, hold it for a little bit longer and you'll instantly feel the effects!

Feeling the energy (Photo courtesy of Connie Ha).
Feeling the energy (Photo courtesy of Connie Ha).

The Energy You Emit After the Festival is More Important Than the Energy you Emit During the Festival.

During one of the last performances of the night at the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, a sacred space at the festival designed with the intention to activate the body, mind and heart, the musicians meditated on the importance of bringing the love, compassion and peace practiced so freely, and easily, at the festival into our lives. Oftentimes, festivals are viewed as an escape from our regular day-to-day regime. And although that may be the case, the intent of all of the magic generated over the weekend isn't to just be present for the time being and then one-hundred percent die out, but to instead integrate into little pieces of stardust sprinkled onto our day-to-day lives to keep the magic of LIB alive.

Reach Staff Reporter Natalie Raphael here.