Summer of love 2.0
The Summer of Love may be more than half a century behind us, but hippie culture with its ‘multi-culti’ influences is hipper than ever. Going deeper than just using a retro filter, our Instagram generation is embracing hippie values such as wanderlust, free love and clean eating. And guess what? It may be exactly what the world needs now. Excuse us while we kiss the sky!
Let’s play a game. Do you have any of the following in your fridge: hummus, tofu, kombucha? Do you use a meditation app? Do you call people or things your ‘spirit animal‘? Has your boyfriend ever had a ‘man bun‘? Do you know what a ‘downward dog‘ is? Do you blame Mercury Retrograde when stuff goes wrong? If you answered ‘yes’ 4 out of 6 times, you are much more of a hippie than you may think (6 out of 6, and you’re an official neo-hippie). Yes, even your ‘wanderlust‘ is the ideological offspring of the revolutionary 1960s counterculture that embraced free love, sustainable living, tolerance and tons of tie-dye. Traveling the so-called ‘hippie trail‘ to countries like Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan, India and Japan, the flowerchildren brought back a multi-cultural mix of values and habits that still influence us today, from yoga to yage. Yes, you can make fun of the peace sign-throwing hippie, just as you may laugh at our current obsession with naked yoga and Burning Man. But the core values of hippie culture – an open mind and an open heart – will never go out of fashion. Namasté, bitches!
Here are 5 ‘groovy‘ hippie habits that we ‘totally dig‘, then and now:
Then: From vibrant Egyptian fishing villages to Istanbul’s bustling bazaars: the Middle East was a hippie hotspot. Rejecting the canned-food culture of the 1950s, backpackers went crazy over dreamy local delights such as spicy lentil soup, hummus (a thick chickpea spread) and tahini (a creamy sesame seed paste). Filling and vegan, like the tofu discovered by hippies exploring Asia, this food was good for your belly, your soul and the environment!
Now: Kombucha and kimchi may have replaced granola and brown rice as food fads, but more than ever, we are embracing eating as a political act, from veganism to farm-to-table dining. Our obsession with hummus, meanwhile, has gone completely out of control. (3 words: hummus ice cream).
Meditation as medication
Then: While the Beatles were in Rishikesh, India, throwing themselves at the feet of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – aka ‘the groovy guru’ who invented Transcendental Meditation – hippies were meditating with monks in temples and caves all over Asia, hoping for a spiritual awakening, or at least a drugless high. Meditation became the magic word: reaching Nirvana by sitting still and focusing on your breath. For many, many hours.
Now: No time to sit in a cave in Nepal? Download a mindfulness app! Also trending: a combination of meditation and high intensity interval training. Meditation is hot, especially after science proved what Buddhists have known for 2600 years: it reduces anxiety and slows the ageing process. Forget gurus, it’s doctor’s orders now!
Then: After writing about his hallucinogenic, peyote-fueled adventures with an old Yaqui Indian sorcerer, Carlos Castaneda became one of the most famous spiritual celebrities of the 1960s. A generation of hipsters longing to expand their minds started embracing ancient South American rituals involving psychoactive drugs like peyote mushroom and yage (aka ayahuasca) as a way to expand their minds. Their motto: ‘turn on, tune in, drop out!’.
Now: Not so crazy about the ‘dropping out’ bit, burned-out millennials are nonetheless returning to hallucinogenic medicine as a ‘catalyst for inner growth’ (read: a way to explode their ego). The process – puking, tripping, feeling reborn – hasn’t changed, but we no longer have travel to the Peruvian Amazon for a therapeutic ayahuasca ceremony. And thanks to the hippies’ brave explorations, we know how to free our mind without frying it. Far out!
Strike a yoga pose
Then: Hippies returned from their pilgrimages to India with the perfect shortcut to self-transformation: yoga. A physical, but mostly spiritual discipline, the ancient practice of yoga was embraced as ‘meditation in action’. Yoga schools started popping up, but we were still decades away from ‘hot yoga bodies’ and butt-lifting yoga pants.
Now: Wanna get your yoga on? You can, 24/7, any way you want: naked, on your paddleboard or with your dog: Doga. (We like to imagine a combination of the three). Or how about black-light yoga with a nightclub vibe, core-power yoga with dumbbells and Acro Yoga, a combination of yoga, circus arts and cheerleading? Yoga purists may roll their eyes at at the billion-dollar business it’s become, but we applaud this global wellness obsession!
Then: Forget nuclear families, why not create your own tribe? Traveling hippies in awe of indigenous tribes and their oneness with nature started creating their own communities: brothers and sisters leaving the rat race and ‘getting themselves back to the garden’ (if you know which song* that’s from, you score 10 hippie bonus points!). Sharing their stuff, space and sexual partners, the tribal hippies had the catchiest motto: your vibe attracts your tribe.
Now: With the emphasis more on self-caring and less on sharing, thousands of dust-covered ‘tribal tourists’ dance in the desert once a year at neo-hippie festival Burning Man. At the same time, pictures of Demi Moore quarantining with her ex Bruce Willis, their daughters and their partners – all in matching green-striped pajamas! – proved: modern tribes transcend blood ties and social conventions.
* ‘Woodstock’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
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