Empath’s Guide to Yoga Festivals

feeling alone in a crowd - empaths at festivals
Photo by Chinh Le Duc (Unsplash)

We all are energetic beings, and sensitive to the emotions of others and the general environment of a given situation. Even if you are not consciously aware of it, you are constantly being influenced by the energies and emotions of your external environment. For many, these external factors are easy to brush off, but for those individuals who are considered to be a ‘highly sensitive person’ (HSP), dismissing others’ circumstances and feelings is not such an easy task.

“HSP’s have an innate ability to deeply feel, perceive, and empathize with the emotions, and even physical perceptions of others…”

An HSP is a person with sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), a personality trait wherein an individual has a high level of sensitivity to external stimuli. What this means, is that those with this trait have a hypersensitive central nervous system with a low threshold for stimulation. HSP’s have an innate ability to deeply feel, perceive, and empathize with the emotions, and even physical perceptions of others, and therefore can easily absorb or be influenced by the moods and emotions of those with whom they come into contact. This can potentially lead to a strong need for alone time to recover, chronic fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed in crowds. Those of you who are HSP will likely know exactly what I’m talking about. Whether you’re entering a room and can immediately feel the ‘vibe’, or you begin crying over tragic news coverage, others’ experiences easily become your own. So much so, that it can leave you feeling totally depleted.

So, how do we stop taking on other people’s ‘stuff’? And how do we go out and engage in our daily lives without feeling completely drained? What can we do when we go to festivals, concerts, or events where there are hundreds, or even thousands of people?

Based on years of my own personal observations and experimentation as an empath and HSP, here are my top ten tips to protect your energetic field and keep from taking on the emotions and energies of others.

  1. Protect your energetic field by visualizing yourself cocooned in light. Imagine that there is a white or golden orb surrounding your body, providing you with a field of protection.
  2. Pray and ask for help. If you begin to feel like a situation is too intense for you to handle yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance from a higher power, whatever you conceive that to be.
  3. Carry some Palo Santo or sage for smudging yourself (blowing the smoke of the wood or herb around your body), an ancient method of clearing stagnant or negative energies.
    Burning sage
  4. Choose smaller gatherings like Bhakti Fest, Bali Spirit Festival, Satnam FestBeloved, or Wanderlust Festival, where there isn’t going to be as heavy an emphasis on the use of drugs and alcohol.
  5. Ground yourself by walking barefoot and reconnecting to the Earth, sitting under a tree, or petting a friendly animal.
  6. Return to the breath. If feelings start to intensify, or you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, slow and steady your breathing. Bring your attention to your inhalations and exhalations, and let the rhythm of your breath return you to the present moment.
  7. Take a cold shower to close and protect your energetic field, (as well as your pores!), before heading out for the day.
  8. Use meditation as a tool to ground and center before you begin your day. Start your morning with some breathing and centering, and set your intention for the day to stay grounded and protected, and not take on energies that do not belong to you.
    Meditating alone
  9. Be mindful of who you interact with, and if someone’s vibration does not feel in alignment with yours, don’t be afraid to honor yourself by walking away from that situation. Additionally, consider attending festivals with close friends who understand and support your journey.
  10. Remember Mom’s advice: eat right and get enough sleep! This timeless wisdom that most of us heard growing up still has an important place in our adult lives, even during festival season. Empaths are often especially sensitive to unbalanced diets and disrupted sleep cycles, so to keep yourself in top form, be sure to fit in an adequate amount of sleep and to eat foods that are going to your nourish your body.

These tips and tools have helped me to successfully protect my energetic field, especially during festival season, when I find myself in large crowds of people. Know that it’s possible to be compassionate and loving towards others, without absorbing their emotions and experiences. May these tips and tools serve you during festival season and beyond!

Edited by Jennifer Douglas

Athena Sheehy

Athena is a moon auntie and an empowerment coach for women and young girls. Her mission is to empower all beings to live in harmony and flow with all the cycles of their lives. So they may live a limitless, sovereign life full of inner wisdom, peace, and joy. Athena helps others to tap into their own inner wisdom for guidance. She has served hundreds of girls in strengthening their inward human skills like mindfulness. Athena believes in the power of supporting the youth in their wellness so they can be a catalyst for great positive change in the world.

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