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A Very Vegan Christmas in July

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by Yvette Chapman (subscribe)
Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.

At Christmas, it's customary to gather a tribe and indulge in delicious food and joyous vibes. And to this end, my experience at A Very Vegan Christmas in July certainly lived up to expectation.

Yasi of Keshava Yoga hosted this unique event at Albion Peace Centre. While my tastebuds were treated to a sumptuous two-course vegan meal, which put a spin on traditional Christmas fare - the ancient Vedic mantra chanting and Kirtan journey, ensured a feast for all the senses.

On arrival, I was warmly greeted with a steaming cup of silky chai, some moreish spiced nuts, and a mantra card.

The dining area comprised long banquet tables, which encouraged new friendships to be forged. Adorning the tables were gold placemats, red napkins and Christmas-themed greenery, while flameless candles emanated a kaleidoscope of colours to create a truly festive mood.

Icicle strip lights framed the performance space, while soft laser lights waltzed across the imposing, cathedral-style ceilings, swathing the venue in ambient colour. BackJack chairs (which are super comfy floor seats) hugged a low-set stage to create an intimate and engaging atmosphere.

First on stage were the talented duo, Candace and Anah - who captivated the audience with delicate vocals and melodic rhythms on the harmonium (which is similar to an organ) and acoustic guitar. Leading us in chant, their voices were so heavenly, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were angels that belonged on the Christmas tree beside the stage.

After their set, I was keen to tuck into the delicious dinner cooked by Yasi and her crew of amazing volunteers. The meal consisted of lightly smoked baked tofu with cranberry walnut stuffing, roast potatoes and pumpkin, and steamed green beans sauteed with almonds. Complementing these flavours was cranberry sauce and decadent creamy (chickpea) gravy that could convince even a non-vegan to take a walk on the wild side.

Dinner was followed by another yogic practice in the form of a group meditation mantra, which was led by experienced Yogi and Meditation Teacher, Yasi.

The final performance, by the seven-piece ensemble, Strings Attached, continued the Kirtan theme. Featuring a lead vocalist, backing vocalist, violinist, double bassist, guitarist, drummer and keyboardist, Strings Attached raised the energy with their spiritually uplifting sounds, which had everyone clapping and swaying along. Keyboardist, DJ Kevy even wowed the crowd with some eclectic beats mashed with ancient mantras!

Ending the night on a sweet note, I gorged on a selection of drool-worthy desserts. Think Banoffee pie, chocolate cheesecake, apple crisp, and miniature sticky-date pudding with a ridiculously oozy centre.

And being the generous community spirited folk that they are, Keshava Yoga donated two dollars from every event ticket purchase to Sea Shepherd Australia, which defends our marine wildlife and their habitats.

If you missed out on this event, there is good news. Keshava Yoga runs events throughout the year. Whether you're into Asana yoga, meditation or are simply seeking a spiritual retreat, you're sure to find something inspiring. Check out the upcoming one-day retreat on the Sunshine Coast, which sounds like total bliss.
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When: 21 July at 6:30-9:00pm
Phone: 0406 606 368
Where: Albion Peace Centre 102 McDonald Road, Windsor 4030
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