Only in Austin can you find meditation, mezcal, chill music, dinner, dancing, and yoga in the same place. But that’s exactly what the new roaming Swaylo Nights is bringing to the weirdest city in the world.
Organized by DJ Noah Kessler de St Croix – who also curated the ethereal music playlist, and co-hosted by experienced yoga instructor and positive mentor Lizzie Aguirre, Swaylo Nights is an all new multi-part dinner event that brings together friends and strangers for an intimate, earnest and exceptionally entertaining evening. And this saucy, spectacular get-together is popping up all around Austin!
This particular Swaylo event was held at the popular Native Hostel on a warm Thursday evening. It started in the hostel’s upscale yet cozy restaurant and bar, where guests of all intentions picked up their custom wooden token with a laser etched lion. Then they headed up the small staircase behind the bar until they reached the Romper Room: a spacious, loft-like private dorm fitted with 6 beds, a private bath, living area and tall windows that look out over the city street.
Rows of pillows lay resting on the floor, beckoning guests to the center of the room. As guests started to make acquaintances and the smell of incense filled the air, the group made their way over to the cocoon of pillows and sat down to face Lizzie. The guided meditation began with a slow awakening of your self-awareness, from feeling the air around your toes to your own heart beating – and acknowledging every emotion and reaction attached to this awakening.
Through her meditation, Lizzie encourages us not to run from our fears and insecurities, but instead face them with a still mind and a still body. She also works to break down social barriers by pairing meditators in groups of two for partner work, which entails breaking both physical and emotional barriers. Afterward, the group was gathered in a large circle and the plant-based craft Gem and Bolt Mezcal was presented in precious handmade ceramics made by talented local potter and designer Isabel Glatthorn of Soul Matter.
The dainty handcrafted copitas were passed around, one at a time, until the whole group raised their glasses and introduced themselves to say what they were grateful for in that moment. The mezcal was smokey but smooth, with a sweet finish that is meant to be savored as opposed to shot. Once everyone had a chance to connect with the group and finish their sample of mezcal, they were ushered back downstairs for a quick break while the room was rearranged into a warm and welcoming European-style dinner table.
As the conversation started to sparkle and bellies began to grumble, the guests sat down for a light yet plentiful vegan-friendly family-style meal comprised of super comfort foods. The table was set modestly but elegantly, with dainty handmade sculptures, rosemary and candles placed in the center. Soft candlelight cast an orange glow over the table and small samples of homemade incense by Dream Lion titled “The Wish Granter” lay waiting at each place setting. Then large dishes of Thai-style salad with fresh avocado, arugula and peanuts, vinaigrette-glazed tofu and quinoa were passed around the table eagerly.
A tranquil sitar set the mood as guests chowed down on fabulously filling farm-to-table fare with natural spices and flavors in the form of jalapeños, papaya salad and pumpkin-filled hush puppies. Then more potent Gem and Bolt mezcal appeared in the same artisanal Soul Matter cups and were passed around the table. Coordinators and co-hosts stood to give their thanks and cheers the room for a wonderful evening.
And just when the plates began to diminish and the mezcal started to kick in, dinner was cleared and guests headed back downstairs where the night was magically transformed into a musically infused feast for the senses. Swirling incense and red lighting created a misty, enigmatic atmosphere as Swaylo spun his sultry sounds and guests swayed to his beats. Sweet Fusion sounds of Afro, Latin, world and deep house music carried guests away on a musical magic carpet ride of worldly exploration.
By now, the small group of explorers, hostel inhabitants, old friends and new friends felt right at home with one another, having spent an entire evening in a group getting to know one another and letting down their guard through guided meditation – and spirits. As the party got going, more beautiful people started to pack in and soon the night was filled with dancing bodies, pouring drinks and free-flowing fun that felt like a Friday night.
Swaylo Nights is a therapeutic, energetic, delicious off the wall experience that offers a one-of-a-kind evening you can only find in downtown Austin. Swaylo touts the philosophy that:
“We’re living in abundance already. Our lives are full, fun, magic, beautiful, adventurous and full of purpose…it’s our game…let’s play…”
It’s Mardi Gras meets Carnavale with a little bit of spiritual discovery sprinkled in! But the experimenting and exploring don’t stop there! Check the Swaylo Nights schedule and follow @swaylonights on Instagram to see where they’ll be partying next and discover Austin’s newest and most unique bohemian sensation!