yoga fest

The Telluride Yoga Festival’s featured presenter include world-renowned instructors, practitioners and DJs. (Image courtesy of Telluride Yoga Festival)

If town feels like it’s full of light, love and energy over the next four days, that’s because the Telluride Yoga Festival will be in full swing Thursday to Sunday with 130-plus events on its main campus at Telluride High School, as well as at the Sheridan Opera House and other locations in town and Mountain Village.

The event promises yoga classes, conscious music, dynamic speakers and outdoor offerings like SUP yoga, AiReal yoga, hiking and biking, plus social gatherings and a market.

“I can’t wait for the energy that is going to fill the valley during yoga fest this year,” Festival Director Erika Henschel said. “It’s when we all come together that this festival really comes to life. We are ready to share the love.”

For 2019, the festival moved to the last weekend of June after previously occupying a late July slot on Telluride’s event calendar.

Now in its 12th year, the event boasts a diverse lineup, according to Henschel, who co-owns the festival with Albert Roer.

“The very idea of a yoga festival, to me, is to offer a wide variety of classes, teachers and approaches to practice that will showcase yoga in all of its various forms,” Henschel remarked. “When I create the lineup, I am looking for teachers that I feel are really authentic and who genuinely walk their talk.”

The 2019 gathering sees the return of favorites like Amy Ippoliti, Gina Caputo and Scott Blossom, as well as the arrival of some presenters new to Telluride.

MC YOGI, Ashleigh Sergeant and Eoin Finn are three newbies that Henschel said she excited to welcome.

“MC YOGI is a beloved yogi and artist with a unique ability to combine hip-hop music with yogic wisdom and mythology and is an amazing, world-renowned performing artist,” Henschel said. “Ashleigh has dedicated her life to sharing the healing power of yoga with the world and has studied with some incredible teachers, including Sally Kempton, who graced the TYF stage in 2018.”

She added, “Eoin Finn, I think, will really resonate with TYF attendees as he is reclaiming nature as one of the greatest spiritual portals and our best source of health and happiness.”

Any hidden gems in the lineup?

“Any class that DJ Drez will be in will be a special class,” Henschel said. “Drez transforms the vibe of any scene his sound is set upon.”

MC YOGI and DJ Drez will also perform at a Friday night concert at the Sheridan Opera House, part of a move by the festival to incorporate more music into the weekend.

It’s a move that one yoga fest attendee, Dawn Ibis, said she supports.

“The 2019 festival added some fun musical artists, all of which are new to me: MC YOGI, DJ Drez, Crisanto Santa Ana, Alex Golden and Kirby K,” Ibis said. “I’m looking forward to a session Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with Ashleigh Sergeant and DJ Drez. It’s always fun to move in creative ways to musical arrangements that are new.”

Ibis added that she is attending in part to gain additional exposure to different types of yoga.

“I just started practicing Kundalini Yoga in 2019 and will be attending most of Tommy Rosen and Kia Miller’s sessions,” she said. “They are married Kundalini practitioners who have come to the Telluride Yoga Festival for several years. I attended one of Tommy’s sessions at the very end of the 2018 festival and was intrigued by his work with addicts and addiction. His story is quite remarkable. Their Thursday intensive is about kriyas, which I’m anxious to explore.”

Read any of the many reviews of past Telluride Yoga Festivals and a word that crops up again and again is “intimate”.

Ibis said she agrees.

“The festival is unique in that it is smaller and allows interaction with the presenters much more than in larger festivals,” she said. “It’s also easier to exhaust yourself (as I love to do) by taking four or more sessions a day. The tight campus allows ease of getting to the next session with a little time to shop for a mala, cool shoes or a meditation cushion.”

Ibis continued, “I also like that as a beginner I feel pleasantly welcomed into the sessions at Telluride Yoga Festival (no matter the difficulty level) and have made new friends every year I attend. In 2018, Michael Ruterbories was my fabulous partner for a handstand class. Michael passed away in February and he will be missed this year.”

Henschel noted that the intimate and friendly vibe at yoga fest is a hallmark, as is, of course, incorporating the outdoors into the event.

She said, “While the festival is home to lots of yoga and meditation, it also has the goal of bringing nature to the forefront with offerings including nightly sunset yoga overlooking the San Sophia mountains and the Town of Telluride, climbing the famous Via Ferrata, a ‘get in the flow’ rafting trip on Thursday, several hikes per day, SUP yoga on Elks Lake in Mountain Village, outdoor aerial yoga, biking, and more.”

To purchase tickets or to learn more about the Yoga Festival, the lineup and the schedule, visit www.tellurideyogafesival.com.