Inside Backwoods Workshops: Interview with Aubrey Warren - Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain - Ozark, Arkansas - Music Festival
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Inside Backwoods Workshops: Interview with Aubrey Warren

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Workshop Instructor Applications for Backwoods 2020 are now open online!


Click this link to apply now: http://bit.ly/bw2020-workshops


If you didn’t know, Aubrey Warren organizes our workshops every year and she’s an amazing member of our team. We caught up with her to talk about Backwoods 2020 and here’s what she had to say:


Hey Aubrey, how’s it going!


Great! Thanks for asking 🙂


In case some readers don’t know, you’ve been a yoga instructor for a long time. How did you first get into yoga?


I had chronic bladder infections my senior year of college (2001).  After a year on antibiotics, I got frustrated with western medicine and sought out an eastern practitioner.  Dr. Lee was the first person to ask me what was going on in my personal life and what I was putting into my body.  THIS question was EVERYTHING!  I used to be 50 pounds heavier and in attempts to get skinny, I was addicted to Metabolife, the ephedra-based diet pill that’s illegal now.  Dr. Lee suggested I get off the pills, clean up my nutrition & start practicing yoga.  After 6 months of practicing twice a week, my bladder infections were gone, and I was no longer needing the asthma medications I had been on since my youth.  Knowing I had to share this magic with others, I started my Yoga Teacher Training the following year.


So once your training was over, when did you start teaching?


I taught my first yoga class in October 2003.  I’ve spent the past 16 years teaching in multiple gyms and yoga studios throughout Dallas-Fort Worth.   Over the past 3 years, I’ve become a Certified Yoga Education Provider, which gives me tremendous joy!  Being a teacher of teachers is a different beast.  It’s one thing to teach poses on a yoga mat – it takes a heightened level of knowledge and expierence in yogic-philosophy to make it come alive and become applicable for those looking to teach this practice to others.  For what you physically see on the mat barely scratches the surface of what is true yoga. 


How were you first introduced to Backwoods?


This is kinda a long story, so I’ll do my best to share the “Cliff’s Notes.”  Without knowing the full story, though, it’s hard to understand why this festival is so special to me…


We had our first son in 2007 and our 2nd in 2009, and I lost myself in motherhood.  Our marriage was in trouble.  In attempts to heal what was broken, we left our little boys with grandma and grandpa for our 1st camping music festival – Wakarusa, 2012.  It worked.  Through letting go of our social roles and getting lost in the music and the community, it was like we had years of therapy in one weekend.  Recognizing the magic that occurred and the value of the investment, we committed to attending annually to intentionally keep our relationship-fire burning.


At the last Wakarusa (2015), I had a vision of teaching yoga there – but when the festival “died” my heart was broken.  All the while, I was stagnant in my career.  Every day I would pray to Spirit, “Show me the next right step.”  During meditation I would hear, “You’re supposed to be teaching on a different platform,” and one day that message was followed by a flash of that vision at Wakarusa.  Maybe THAT is the platform.  I said a prayer, wrote it down and opened my heart to the idea of being a Music Festival Yoga Teacher.  Weeks later I got a Facebook message from a festy-friend who’s a hoop instructor.  She got booked to teach hoop at Middlelands, produced by Insomniac Events in Texas, and that they were looking for a yoga instructor.  By the end of the day, I was booked for my 1st festival teaching gig.  When it landed in my lap, I knew something bigger than myself was behind it all.


At the last Wakarusa (2015), I had a vision of teaching yoga there – but when the festival “died” my heart was broken.  All the while, I was stagnant in my career.  Every day I would pray to Spirit, “Show me the next right step.”  During meditation I would hear, “You’re supposed to be teaching on a different platform,” and one day that message was followed by a flash of that vision at Wakarusa.  Maybe THAT is the platform.  I said a prayer, wrote it down and opened my heart to the idea of being a Music Festival Yoga Teacher.  Weeks later I got a Facebook message from a festy-friend who’s a hoop instructor.  She got booked to teach hoop at Middlelands, produced by Insomniac Events in Texas, and that they were looking for a yoga instructor.  By the end of the day, I was booked for my 1st festival teaching gig.  When it landed in my lap, I knew something bigger than myself was behind it all.


I taught at 3 festivals in 2017.  When Backwoods announced taking over Mulberry Mountain, I KNEW I had to be involved.  I applied online.  I visualized myself teaching on the mountain daily.  A few months before Backwoods, I still hadn’t heard anything back, so I started digging.  I eventually got connected with Javier, one of the executive producers, and poured my heart into an email.  He replied saying they already had a couple instructors booked, but that he could feel my passion and genuine desire to serve and would make space for me on the lineup.


After Backwoods 2018 was over, I reached out to Javier expressing what I thought we did awesomely and what we could do better in 2019.  I ended my email with the following statement, “So you’re left with this decision.  Either bring me back to teach a couple of classes next year or hire me to coordinate a full workshop lineup for you.”


What are your plans for Backwoods 2020?


I was honestly extremely satisfied with our 2019 workshop execution and lineup.  It’s my prayer that we do just as good, if not better.  We are a growing festival, still doing our best to identify exactly where funds should be allocated to make the best expierence possible.  We LOVED having ENDo’s sponsorship last year and are currently in negotiation to see what we can manifest together next year.  Stay tuned!


I was honestly extremely satisfied with our 2019 workshop execution and lineup.  It’s my prayer that we do just as good, if not better.  We are a growing festival, still doing our best to identify exactly where funds should be allocated to make the best expierence possible.  We LOVED having ENDo’s sponsorship last year and are currently in negotiation to see what we can manifest together next year.  Stay tuned!


Are you looking for anything particular for next year?


Yes! I was a film major at TCU who specialized in casting.  While I was dealing with those bladder infections, I was working on casting TV commercials.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would end up back in casting, but workshop coordination is a lot like casting a show.  I have an idea of the offerings I want to provide and I’m simply looking for the best fits for the job. 


To all those applying, consider the “Yoga Teacher” role already cast.  That’s me.  I know there are a LOT of aspiring yogis wanting their opportunity to share their passions, so I’m challenging YOU to be creative with how you package your teachings.  If you a pitch anything that feels like vinyasa or hatha yoga, you won’t get selected.  Please remember, I wasn’t just hired to be the Workshop Coordinator, but also the Resident Yoga Instructor. 


The roles I’m looking to cast:


  • Laughter Yoga
  • Partner Yoga – Acro and/or Thai Massage
  • Flow Arts – hula hoop, poi, etc
  • Other Energy & Conscious Movement Practices – Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Contact Improv etc (Not just ecstatic dance.  We do that naturally during DJ sets.)
  • Breath work / Pranayama / Chanting
  • Sound Healing – gong, singing Bowls, etc
  • Mind-expanding, wisdom-sharing information!  (Workshops from last year: Intro to Plant Medicines, Spiritual Alchemy, Intro to Astrology).  Please Note – I will not accept workshop presenters who have not presented this content elsewhere.  This isn’t the platform to test your content.  Go practice teaching, then apply!

Who I’m looking for:


  • People with the desire and intention to serve, who would pay to attend Backwoods otherwise. 
  • People enthusiastic about the following energetic exchange:
    • Teach 2 workshops = Receive 1 Artist Pass
    • Teach 3 workshops = Receive 1 Artist Pass + 1 GA ticket
    • Teach 5 workshops = Receive 2 Artists Passes
    • Artist Passes include = Artists’ area camping, Hospitality access (meals, drinks, etc), Showers

How can people apply to get involved?


Just fill out the application.  PS – EVERYONE needs to apply, even if you taught at Backwoods 2019.  Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/bw2020-workshops


Sounds great! Let’s end on this: what’s your favorite thing about Backwoods?


The venue, community & team.  Let me elaborate. 


Venue: I appreciate live music anywhere, however I’m partial to events in nature.  There’s nothing more healing than dancing your butt off to your favorite band, knowing the trees and Mother Nature will be there to sooth your nervous system when it’s all over.  The Mulberry Mountain Magic is REAL!  As you drive up the mountain, you slowly lose contact with the outside world digitally, sucking you into a different dimension – the mystical vortex that is Mulberry Mountain.  Dude, did you know that quartz crystals fill the earth in Arkansas?  So it’s not just the fresh air, the foliage, the breathtaking vistas, the river and the waterfall – there are minerals deep within the earth heightening every experience.   Google “Healing qualities of Quartz Crystals” if you’re wanting to learn more on this! 


Community & Team: As the Backwoods 2019 team was forming, it was apparent how many of us were a part of the old Wakarusa community.  It blew my mind how many of us were all at Waka 2012.  It’s almost like Waka died so we, the community, people who love Mulberry Mountain, could create something new – TOGETHER!  I am incredibly grateful that Will and Javier, our executive producers, made the brilliant move to shift Backwoods to our current location.  And lastly, I’m crazy proud to work along-side so many huge-hearted, passionate souls whose hearts are all in the right place.  They’ve found passionate freaks like me to utilize our expertise to create a memorable experience for everyone involved.


Awesome Aubrey. We’re all excited to see what you put together for next year… thank you for your time!


My pleasure. I can’t wait for Backwoods 2020 🙂

1Comment
  • Cyndi Hamor | Oct 22, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Awesome interview. I’m not an instructor but I am a woman of the age 60 who is finally on the path of searching for inner peace and tranquility. I’ve always been vocal about causes that meany a lot to me. I have realised it is time, finally, to focus on me! I will definitely be attending Backwoods.

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