Telluride Inside… and Out
Susan Viebrock

poster-1 Need proof Yoga has infiltrated every corner of American culture? Just follow the threads dropped by the headlines – and the stats. According to a study released by Yoga Journal in December 2012, the number of Americans practicing yoga jumped 29 percent, to 20.4 million — or 8.7 percent of American adults — since the previous study in 2008, when 15.8 million practiced.

In response primarily to the business traveler’s desire to lead healthier lifestyles, a number of hotels are supplying mats, straps, blocks, and videos in guests rooms (sometimes with a minor surcharge, which meets with little resistance) and some offer yoga classes. An app – Mindbody –  that also targets the business traveler, is available on Apple and Android to find (and book) local yoga classes. MyYogaOnline.com allows travelers to subscribe to yoga videos on demand.

Among the many benefits ancient art and science of yoga, a physical, mental and spiritual practice, is the ability to relax while remaining attentive– perfect for prisoners. Yep, at least 20 prisons through the U.S. now offer yoga through the Yoga Prison Project.

Some like it hot. Some, like it high. One teacher in Los Angeles encourages her students to use marijuana before coming to class and the idea is not without precedent. Well, maybe. The yoga sutras do list herbs as one of five methods to lift the veil of ignorance (avidya), the barrier between the self (consciousness) and the Self (that which endures) – though the herbs in question are more likely be something as benign as cardamom, not marijuana.

Whether you practice yoga for the exercise or for deeper spiritual meaning, whether you are an advanced practitioner or a rank beginner, the Telluride Yoga Festival offers something for everyone.

The sixth annual Telluride Yoga Festival, the country’s most intimate yoga gathering, takes place Thursday, July 11 – Sunday, July 14, 2013, in the Town of Telluride. Headquarters are at the base of the gondola (in Camel’s Garden), where the vendor’s market also takes place. Local venues include the elementary school, Element 52, Telluride Yoga Center, and the library. The Telluride Yoga Festival also features seven free community classes throughout the weekend and other great deals for locals.

Talk about lemonade from lemons. The Telluride Yoga Festival is the result of a bum wrist.

In the summer of 2008, festival founder Aubrey Hackman, a certified Jivamukti instructor, had just returned from her third yoga teacher training, a four-week intensive taught by lineage founders David Life and Sharon Gannon. Her troublesome wrist, the result of years of cumulative stress from hitting it hard on the mat, was really acting up. The wrist is an extension of the heart chakra, the center of emotions such as love, happiness, compassion and loving oneself in a non-egoistic way. The message came through loud and clear.

Aubrey shifted her focus from winning on and off the mat to Karma Yoga, embracing the idea of action without attachment and selfless service. In an ah haa moment, she decided her Karma yoga, her duty, was to create a yoga event as unique as the town of Telluride, one that would put our town’s best face forward to the world. A critical component of the idea was the thread that would run through the Telluride Yoga Fest and define it. “Ahimsa,” one of the yamas, is a way of behaving in the world that roughly translates to “non-cruelty” with regard to oneself, towards others and towards the earth. At the same time it supports changes you want to make within yourself, the Telluride Yoga Festival also promotes the green agenda the Telluride region (through EcoAction Partners) has laid out for itself. The zero waste event dedicates 25% of its net profits to a local environmental non-profit. (This year, once again, EcoActions Partners.)

Among this year’s guests are Tias and Surya Little, Madhuri Martin, Duncan Wong, Beryl Birch Bender, Nancy Stechert, Karl Straub, Allison English, Aadil Palkhivala, Amy Johnson, Pamela Quinn, Dennis Dean, Liza DiGaetano, Jill Lawson, Mike Matsumura, and Kate Spear.

For further information and to purchase tickets and register, go to www.tellurideyogafestival.com.