Everlasting Experiences At The Telluride Yoga Festival
By Janice Brooks
The adage “begin with the end in mind” has been expert advice for many high power executives, and on many levels Yoga teachers in the course of planning out their Yoga class also adhere to that principle. So, I shall begin by saying this: Get your ticket now, today, for the 2019 Telluride Yoga Festival. There, I said it.
I attended the recent Telluride Yoga festival in July of this year. It was fantastic!!!
I arrived at the festival site bright-eyed and eager to meet with and experience some of the vendors before the Yoga classes began.
Upon arrival to the festival, festivalgoer’s were treated to complementary delicious suja© beverages. All of suja’s products feature certified organic, non-GMO and feature plant-powered ingredients. From their cold-pressed juices to kombuchas. My personal favorite was the suja’s “green supreme™” mix. Another complementary item at the “Welcome Bar” was an assortment of Organic India Tea bags for participants to select from.
My next stop, immediately after registration, was to engage in a lengthy, one-on-one chat with festival vendor Manoj Chalam, owner of Unique Arts Intl. Manoj uses humor and personal anecdotes in his lectures, workshops, and private conversations to illuminate Hindu mythology. An Indian-born scientist with a PhD from Cornell University, Manoj helps individuals find their archetypes in Hindu Yogic deities and teaches the 4 ways to work with an archetype as a spiritual practice.
Inspired with fresh perspectives about Yogic teachings, I wandered over to Sacred Spirals Sinns Art which features sacred art clothing and leatherwork items. I purposely traveled light to the Telluride Yoga Festival, as I knew I wanted to purchase some new Yoga outfits, thereby supporting the vendors while at the festival. Sinns sacred art clothing and art drawings are influenced by his Thai heritage and the intricate line work & sacred geometry of Thai temples. Sinns, says “my art reflects my belief of, and devotion for Buddha and all the Deities. The pencil drawings are converted digitally into silk screens and screen printed using traditional printmaking techniques with custom mixed inks for each unique design.”
After pausing to peruse the yoga class schedule and to select and outline my classes for the next three days, I meandered about the festival grounds taking in the sacred on-site spaces festival Co-Owner’s Erika Henschel and Robert Roer had designed to create an ambience of relaxation and beauty: colorful nosegay flower bouquets perched in a clear glass mason jar sat atop white linen covered tables that were poised at the entrance to each Yoga venue on site, each outdoor Yoga tent featured floor to ceiling colorful silk draped cloths and pristine white cardboard box recycle bins sat about the festival grounds.
Several Yoga class experiences at the Telluride Yoga Festival really inspired me.
Yogrishi Vishvketu’s, class “Hatha Raja’ class was amazing. Affectionately called Yogrishi by the Yoga community. Yogrishi is a master at incorporating diverse aspects of the practice: asana, pranayama, cleansing kriyas, subtle anatomy, Ayurveda and Vedic chanting. He calls this holistic style of teaching Akhanda Yoga™, meaning whole and indivisible. The class I attended was centered around the words “I Am That” or the chant “So Hum.” The class also featured the Bhramari pranayama breathing technique. This pranayama derives its name from the black Indian bee called Bhramari. Bhramari pranayama is effective in instantly calming down the mind. According to Yogrishi, Bhramari it is one of the best breathing exercises to free the mind of agitation, frustration or anxiety and get rid of anger to a great extent. (I’m thinking, it might be a great idea if every American could practice this technique, daily, as a patriotic duty, just saying)
Peter Sterios’ “Gravity and Grace” class was wonderful! The foundation for the class was rooted in what Peter has developed called “LEVITYoga” Simply put, according to Peter, “LEVITYoGA™ is a way to relate to the practice of Yoga where we avoid taking ourselves too seriously. Where we are open to finding humor in our practice in the most refreshing and enlightening ways, and through the practice of Yoga with LEVITY in the heart, mind and body, its effect on our nervous system and immune system allows our natural healing forces to work more efficiently.”
Speaking of grace, Kia Miller’s “Awaken a New Level of Mastery” class, was soul-stirring. Kia is a devoted Yogini and teacher who imparts her wonderful passion for life and well-being in her teaching. Her style pulls from multiple Yogic disciplines, and is both intuitive and steeped in the traditional aspects of Yoga. Her class focused on breath, alignment and the interconnection between mind, body and spirit, allowing each participant to work at their own pace. One of the jewels of wisdom I emotionally sauntered away with from Kia's class was the phrase “stepping into mastery” … which reminded me that mastery is a force field that is always present, as if lovingly waiting for us to arrive into it, by taking one small courageous step.
And, oh la la, the “Happy Hour” sponsored by Zen Planner and hosted by the ever-ebullient yogini Gina Caputo, was seriously off-the-charts fabulous. The complementary food and libations, free t-shirts for each attendee, great music, SoHo-esque style venue, and the numerous yogic themed raffle give-away items, made the event a true Yoga par-tay.
(I’ve even added it to my holiday stocking stuffer request list for my son)