Yoga in America is a 6 billion dollar annual industry and it shows no signs of slowing down. One can even become quite famous teaching yoga. A new agency, sprouting up out of the big apple, with a catchy yoga name YAMA talent, is solely dedicated to booking and promoting yoga teachers - Jack LaLanne and Richard Simmons for example. Yoga is so big now The New York Times picked up a story on the unraveling of a prominent yoga teachers organization. A tale complete with lies and deception. The tales we humans weave…
So why has yoga become such a force in the west? The answer: it brings relief to millions. Google the word yoga and the name of nearly any illness and you will find citation after citation on how yoga helps. Credible sources too, not just bloggers and yoga enthusiasts. Perhaps it’s efficacy is why it has survived 5,000 plus years.
If you haven’t noticed, Denver is a big yoga town, and it is no surprise that our beautiful city, with its Rocky Mountain backdrop, have become a major hub to four yoga festivals. Like a good inversion shifts things around, let’s start with August and work our way to June.
Mountain Pose Medicine and Yoga Symposium
WHEN: August 23, 2012 – August 27, 2012
WHERE: Copper Mountain
ADMISSION: $495.00 for an individual pass/ With lodging $985.00
Previously called the Mountain Pose Yoga Festival, the change in name and the honed in focus comes at a great time in yoga’s unfolding in the West. With the rapid growth of yoga and the numerous teachers out there waiving their certificates after two months of training; yoga as a profession hovers a fine line between a credible healing modality or simply an exercise you do on Wednesdays because on Tuesday you took spin class. The sweet spot at this event is the integration of medicine and yoga. Mountain Pose is geared towards working medical professionals and dedicated yoga professionals. Workshops and lectures will move beyond simply “prescribing yoga” to a better understanding of the types of yoga and what is appropriate for each individual. Participants will learn what to be aware of before beginning and recommending a yoga practice. Attendees will experience first-hand the many ways yoga can be used for treatment of back pain, stress, anxiety and depression.
If all that doesn’t make you leap into handstand, the entire event includes the Jazz and Wine Festival going on at the same time in Copper Mountain, included with your entry to the Mountain Pose event. David Romanelli, speaker and yoga teacher, is teaming up with award winning jazz musician Stanley Jordan to teach attendees more about the relationship between music and healing. CME credits are available for medical professionals as well as hours for yoga instructors/therapists with Yoga Alliance. This event could be your choice to expand your tools if you are a medical or yoga professional.
Telluride Yoga Festival
WHEN: July 12, 2012 to July 15, 2012
WHERE: Telluride, Colorado
Telluride is nearly heaven on earth in the summer. The sunshine and the shades of green are so enticing you will want to slurp them down with a straw. Instead you will drink it all in with your eyes and heart. Everything that should be green is. The Gondola will carry you over the majestic landscape from town to your classes at the Peaks. Telluride is known for its festivals so restaurant owners tend to prepare a little something special for the yogis in town.
The Telluride Yoga Festival focuses primarily on asana and philosophy and it is done in such an authentic and non-commercial way. Each morning offers asana and meditation. Experienced mature teachers like Mark Whitwell, Dr. M.A. Jayashree and M.A. Narasimhan are on the roster to expand your understanding of yoga. The event is highlighted with a Kirtan on the mountain top. Telluride is a must and if your budget allows, why not dance with Ziggy and Shiva Rhea and then wanderlust up to Telluride, to refine and imprint, your new big heart perfectly embraced by Aspens in full shine.
WHEN: July 5, 2012 to July 8, 2012
WHERE: Copper Mountain, Colorado
ADMISSION: $475.00 includes music and yoga. Several options are available.
I kind of like the name but something about it hums to the tune of highly marketed phrases like “find your bliss” or “be here now.” and I think the web designer may have stole the colors and design from Starbucks. Whether you like the name or not, you will be impressed with a star-studded lineup. There is so much rich full talent on this docket I couldn’t begin to mention it here. As for me, my best tingle in the toes moments will be: Ziggy Marley and Deepok Chopra. Ziggy because his heritage and the international kiss of his work connects us all. Next up are Jai Uttal and Suzanne Sterling. My heart has pined for a Kirtan of this size. My personal Disney moment may just unfold this July when all the gathered hearts become one under the twinkling night sky. Bhakti yogis will know what I am saying!
I am curious to hear Deepok Chopra speak, for I hope he (and all the speakers) impart words that will soothe and inspire us, in this time of transition in America and our human evolution.
WHEN: June 8, 2012 to June 10, 2012
WHERE: Boulder, Colorado
The Hanuman Festival: What cannot be magical about a yoga festival with a magical monkey god for a mascot? And it is in beautiful Boulder, home to tree-huggers with cash, organic vegetables and bipeds dedicated to living in a softer way.
Hanuman seems as much about the yoga and as it is about the music–a super luscious and divine combo of human invention in my opinion. Hanuman’s biggest headliners for yoga: Richard Freeman or Beryl Binder Birch, two teachers with more experience then most of the others combined. In reviewing the roster of teachers, it appears a good selection of them are local and an excellent one stop shop if you are looking for a new teacher. The teacher who intrigues me is Anand Mehrotra, from India; he is featured in the award-winning documentary, “The Highest Pass,” and is the founder of the Sattva Center in Rishikesh India.
The Hanuman music line up is a little bit of everything, from Kirtan (traditional devotional music for the yogi) ambient Trance DJs to Libby Kirkpatrick. One doesn’t have to do the yoga workshop to imbibe and enjoy Hanuman’s music buffet.
Each festival has several options: a cool $1299.00 is Hanuman’s VIP package that includes lodging at the luxurious St. Julien Hotel. Checkout the individual websites to learn more about each events line-up, single day passes and accommodations for attendees coming from out of town.
Yoga teachers registered with Yoga Alliance can receive continuing education credits for attending any one of these events. Each festival has charities and service focused organizations that they donate money to. Your investment in these events are intended to take you a long way. A gathering of yogis is fertile ground for divine intervention: meeting the next teacher or finding your body in a pose you never thought you could master. Chances are, minutes after rolling out your mat and greeting your neighbor, that you have just made a new friend for life. Anything is possible.