One of the newest additions to the festival season of Telluride is the Telluride Yoga Festival. Founded in 2007, this gathering is going strong. Created by Aubrey Hackman, a young aspiring instructor of the Jivamukti yoga tradition, she brought her vision for a celebration of consciousness to fruition, and it has remained a success…..for several reasons.
Telluride Yoga Festival brings in some of the best teachers. Attendees have the opportunity to study with various instructors that are world-renown: Duncan Wong, Tias Little, Beryl Bender Birch, and more. This is along with some of the more innovative instructors showcased, like the Yoga Slackers- who make sure a little-sacred play is a part of their practice, incorporating acro yoga, slack lining, and sometimes dance. The presenter lineup changes yearly.
From workshops to individual classes, there is a little something for all yogis in Telluride at this festival. Representing Iyengar, Hatha, Ayurveda, Power Yoga, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Shamanic practices, and other lineages, festival goers can also expect new and emerging branches of “garage” yoga and even “Forrest” yoga. In addition, one can find Aquarian sadhana and meditations each morning to get the day off to a centered and grounded start.
One of the coolest things for Telluride is the music that the Yoga Festival brings in. Kirtan is a call and response type of chanting that is healing for the soul, and weekend nights of Telluride Yoga Festival usually feature some sort of kirtan event. In the past, Wah, Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band, and the late Shyamdas have made appearances, blessing the Telluride canyon with sacred sound syllables and mantras for healing. It’s not surprising that in a town like Telluride, you can experience these ancient healing practices from India to open the heart and connect to the Divine. Kirtan events are open to the public, with a cover charge at the door, though the festival pass gains access.
Full and partial pass options are available. However, for those that don’t have tickets or the time to purchase a pass, Telluride Yoga Festival does provide free options. And isn’t this the yoga way? To make yoga free and accessible to all beings? The community classes are the festival’s way of giving back and serving the public. Students can still experience these gifted teachers and their wisdom in venues like the Wilkinson Public Library or the Telluride Elementary School at no cost. In keeping with the values and mindset that is yoga, this is a zero waste festival. Telluride Yoga Festival donates 25% of their profits to local non-profit organizations created to serve the earth. Reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting are all requirements of participation.
Yoga Festival happens every July. Each year is different, but each year maintains the same organization and quality of experience. It’s a beautiful thing to see yogis from around the country, or even different parts of the world, carrying their mats through the enchanting streets of Telluride, searching for their next class and the beautiful truth of our experience.