By Claire Salinas
Take a moment to stop what you’re doing. Take a deep, calming breath. Relax your body. Let go of the endless thoughts and worries in your mind.
Find inner peace.
That’s just what World Peace Day Baton Rouge hopes to do for locals. The celebration on Saturday will feature a Vegan Village, hula hoopers, belly dancers, live music and a primal playground, all with the aim of “showing people there are tools you can use to bring about inner peace.”
“Once you have inner peace with yourself you’re able to connect peacefully with others,” said event organizer Beth Zagurski.
The event is put on in conjunction with the annual United Nations Peace Day, but got its start five years ago because of Zagurski’s interest in yoga.
“In the yoga community, UN International Peace Day is celebrated by doing the global Mala Yoga practice. I had read about the global Mala Yoga practice and participated in one in New Orleans in 2009,” said Zagurski. “It consists of 108 sun salutations, so you are doing a full Mala necklace, with each one of your sun salutations as a dedication to peace within yourself and the community around the world.”
Because there was nothing like that in Baton Rouge, Zagurski decided to organize yoga practices, and then thought to include other activities along with it. Zagurski explained that throughout the entire festival the goal is to get “people to interact and to connect.” “Because as evidenced in different communities around the nation like Ferguson and Baltimore, if we’re not seeing one another in the community then it’s easy not to care,” said Zagurski. “When you see other people and see they’re experiencing the same things you’re experiencing, you begin to care.”
According to Zagurski, the festival will provide multiple ways for people to make connections with each other.
“One of the areas is called the primal playground, which is an area where you can connect through movement,” Zagurski said. “There will be a lot of interactive stuff going on. We’ll have hoopers in there who will play and teach the kids how to hoop and do tricks. There will be children’s yoga, obstacle course racing and things you can climb on. When the sun goes down we have a DJ, a band and we’ll hoop with the LED lights and get a little glow.”
Zagurski explained the festival will also be an opportunity for people to check out various well-being methods they may have been hesitant to try before.
“[Attendees] are able to experience the things they maybe find intriguing,” said Zagurski. “Maybe they want to do acupuncture, [then] they can meet an acupuncturist and ask questions. It kind of takes the mystery away from these things.”
The various aspects of the festival work together to promote inner peace.
“Movement, art, music and holistic medicine all can be used as healing practices,” said Zagurski. “You’re handing the person the tools they need to promote healing within themselves. Once you’re healthy, you’re more energetic and clear. You’re happier and you live a more full life, and it radiates out to whoever you come in contact with.”
Live entertainment will be provided on a stage entirely run by solar power, thanks to Green Truck Music.
The festival will be held on June 6, from 4 to 9 p.m. in the town square in downtown Baton Rouge.