Last weekend I attended the Natural High Festival in Uusikaupunki, Finland. It is a unique opportunity to meet heartfelt and bright friends plus attend various body-mind-spirit workshops.
This is now the 6th year of the festival and it has grown to be a popular gathering in Finland. Even if the festival is not defined as a tantra festival, there are many tantra workshops by both Finnish and international teachers.
Why is it special?
I used to go to various music festivals early on in my life, but at some point I could not bear it any longer that thousands of people (including myself) were drunk or stoned for several days. So eventually I stopped going to these festivals, even if I liked the festival feeling in many ways: colorful crowds, interesting meetings, and great hangouts. But not the drugs…
Luckily, someone got the bright idea of organizing a festival without intoxicating substances. A festival where there are plenty of people to meet and connect with, all sober. This someone, behind the idea of the Natural High Festival, is a visionary lady named Henna Länsipää. Heartfelt thanks to her for starting this!
The four day festival consists of tens of workshops, music performances and other gatherings. The artists were a soulful selection of both known and lesser known performers.
The workshops include, of course, tantra, yoga, dance, meditation, different bodywork and even some lectures on topics of healing.
The festival weekend has been the first weekend of July and it’s probably the best time to organize such an outdoor event in Finland. In July, it’s mostly sunny and the chance of rain is minimal. Sometimes the nights can still be coldish, so camping requires a bit of preparation and good camping gear.
Who is it for?
I would say that Natural High is for those of us who like to explore life, have fun without drugs, and connect with like-minded people. This year, there were 3 500 tickets sold, which is quite a big crowd in a country like Finland!
Probably the biggest part of the audience is aged between 30 and 45, and there are also a bunch of families with children there, as it’s a safe and fun environment at which spend beautiful summer days.
It’s a great opportunity to try different kinds of workshops and taste what kind of teaching style suits you best – or to see what kinds of topics resonate with you..
And of course, it’s an excellent place to meet friends and make new acquaintances.
In this years’ program there were a bit more than a hundred events. There’s so much to choose from. The program has been running pretty much on schedule every year, which is fantastic. Some of the workshop organizers would like to prolong their workshops, but the organizers nicely keep them on time. I think punctuality is one of the great qualities of the Finns!
If you would like, you could keep yourself busy from early morning till late in the night with the program, but after a few days of such an intense program, just meeting with friends is superb as well.
Mostly the workshops and events are about two hours in duration. It’s a long enough time to get to know the teacher, the work they do, dive deeper into yourself, and create deeper connections with others.
Many of the workshops are “entry level”, so you do not need to have any previous experience. But, do not be fooled by the entry level: many participants experience very deep processes, for example with breath work or tantra. Simply being present and being seen can be very healing just by itself.
My experience this year
My interest in tantra led me mostly to tantric workshops. I attended workshops by Sanna Sanita, The Raw Man, Santoshi and Pragita & Sudeva.
It always astonishes me how powerful even the simplest exercises can be when done in a supportive and safe environment. It really seems to be that less is more, and I also feel that the group energy strongly amplifies the processes.
Because I’m also organizing tantra workshops, some of my attention always goes to the teaching techniques, words and methods the teachers use. My brain is like an infinite tape recorder that saves everything and hopefully I will be able to bring the best of them out later in my own events.
Besides that, I really enjoyed the workshops. Mostly I attended them with my partner, and it was a great opportunity to dive deeper in our connection and intimacy.
Most intimate workshops require confidentiality, so I won’t be able to share the details here, just general feelings. But I must say that the most impressive, even if a bit provoking, teacher this year was The Raw Man from Sweden. I attended his workshop Deep Polarity and Brothers, Warriors for Men.
The Raw Man had a very interesting and very direct way of leading the group. No bullshit, directly to the point, no unnecessarily beautifying things. We explored the polarity between men and women from different angles, and he was able to demonstrate some of the positive masculine and feminine qualities from the group.
I found some of his exercises truly beneficial for my own growth, especially when it comes to masculinity.
In some other workshops I experienced deep and meaningful meetings. It really is quite different to meet someone when you do it slowly and with 110% of your attention. A connection like this, even without any words, can be so powerful. How to be open, and how to trust? To surrender and to be vulnerable at the same time?
As always, it was easy to dive into the “festival bubble”: the flow and rhythm of attending workshops, eating, resting, dancing, and sharing with friends… And I still have the deep and satisfying smile on my face, looking at the photos from friends on Facebook.
In the opening ceremony Henna always plays the old Haddaway song “Life will never be the same”. I definitely feel that something always shifts there, and many would agree!
Perhaps you would like to join us next year?
You can get a taste of the festival feeling from the promotional videos from past years on this page: naturalhighfestival.fi/videot/
Were you at the festifal this year? What was your best experience? Leave your comment below!