Telluride. Yoga. Fest!
I’m gonna come right out and say it: the Telluride Yoga Fest may just be my favorite yoga conference in the whole wide world. Don’t get me wrong: the famous, huge Yoga Journal Estes Park Conference is a slice of heaven—actually, I call it Yoga Valhalla, ’cause everywhere you walk/eat/chat you see Rodney Yee and Seane Corn and other luminaries of the yoga world idly walking/eating/chatting.
But Telluride is…well, in Telluride. It’s intimate, and in the most gorgeous, mindfully-developed setting on Planet Yoga. And, there’s a strong Buddhist track to go with the yoga. You don’t have to be Buddhist or care about Buddhism to want to join the wisdom of meditation with your yoga practice—it turns the whole “is yoga spiritual or just wonderfully athletic” question into a moot point. If you can get with your breath, and the present moment, when you practice yoga, yoga instantaneously becomes something transcendently joyous. It’s like learning to dance, practicing how to dance…and then, one day, just rockin’ it out on the dance floor. Well, that’s the best analogy I can come up with, pre-morning-coffee, anyways.
Finally, Telluride’s teachers and staff are of a quality that I’ve only rarely seen before. The integrity and eco-responsibility of the program are near-perfect.
Plus, at night, after a long day, you don’t have to make a choice between riding a gondola up a steep mountainside overlooking a starry little city…and going to a dive bar, drinking down a New Belgium and cleaning up at the pool table.
We’d talked about sponsoring and covering Telluride last year. We covered it a fair amount, thanks to our writer Kelsi Coia. This year, we made it for our Walk the Talk Show with Yours Truly, and a little yoga. Next year, I plan on getting there early and leaving late. Hope to see you there.
We started our talk show in the main downtown park at Telluride, today, the subject: the connections and differences between Yoga & Buddhism (I threw in some basic “why do we care about either” questions for the public).
Then, Mother Nature rained on our parade…and out of the 75 or 100 of us in the downtown park, maybe 60 walked across the street to a big beautiful airy spacious yoga studio.
Photo above and below courtesy the charming, relaxed Betsy Lummis. More photos to come, plus video.
We’ll be adding more stories and photos when we’re back, check back here if curious.
So far: gondola, malas, manduka, Richard Freeman, presenters’ dinner, no plastic cutlery, steaming bean cool cafe, stickers, Jim Gimian at Stanford Buddhist Elks Lodge conference, bicycles unlocked, awesome Mexican food, polyester, mindful architecture/development, road trip, ugly, gorgeous, Frisco, Glenwood Springs, Ridgeway, Clifton is ghetto meth capital of the Rockies, cowboy hats, yoga slackers, Mountainfilm, Farmers Market, Aubrey, Kasey
An Update, via Merete Mueller
When Waylon and Lindsey first asked me to join them on their trip to Telluride for the Yoga Fest, they estimated it would take us about 4 hours, maybe 5, tops, to drive there.
But when we traced the route on Google Maps, it looked closer to 8, and in reality took us something like 9, chugging up and over breathtaking high-altitude passes in Lindsey’s 10-year-old Jetta, coasting through idyllic 50s-style orchard towns, and basically holding our breath as we drove through the depressing strip-mall towns where old school Americana has been overtaken by a highway culture of big-box chains and drive-throughs.
It was my first trip to Telluride and I was shocked by the beauty of the place—it’s the kind of town you see cast in porcelain and dusted with white confetti in Christmastime window displays—and is surrounded on three sides by dramatic, J.R.R. Tolkein-style jagged peaks. People had told me this place was beautiful, but I had no idea that this kind of beauty was even possible.
After arriving and stretching our legs on Main Street, Waylon bumped into an acquaintance (not much had changed, despite being out of the Boulder bubble), who whisked us off the the festival’s presenter dinner, where we ate vegan, gluten free enchiladas, and drank delicious coconut-y berry tea, at a table with Richard Freeman, Shamdas, and the founder of Bhakti Fest. Post-dinner, we settled into our hotel suite and worked ourselves to sleep, Waylon blogging until well past midnight.
We woke too early, but with the promise of a free gondola ride up to yoga class with Richard Freeman, who walked us through six or seven asanas, verrry slowwwly, over the course of three hours, as he unraveled the alignment and process of each pose, amidst much huffing and puffing by yogis used to sea level oxygen levels.
I had just enough time to hunt down Telluride’s taco cart (the homemade tortillas made the $6 burrito well worth it, though our Mexican dinner than night at La Cocina was even better…and bigger) before meeting Waylon and Lindsey for Walk the Talk Show, which began under a slight drizzle and moved indoors to a lovely 2nd floor yoga studio, when lightning began striking the peak directly behind us.
Other highlights? Hanging out with Waylon for two hours while he tried to find the perfect cowboy hat, which then inspired us to look up “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” on Netflix later in the evening, after one more gondola ride in the dark, marveling at how quiet the forest was, all the way up to the summit.
In true elephant style, we made it a point to patronize indie cafes wherever we went: the Bluebird in Glenwood, Steaming Bean in Telluride and, oddly, a Great Harvest Bread Company in Montrose because they had wireless and we were hungry and there was nothing else but fast food and it turned out to be owned by a family just relocated from Boulder.
“Boulder is a great place to leave,” Waylon mused as we rounded the curves on Route 6, emerging from the foothills and back onto the front range, “and a great place to come back to.”
It’s always necessary to leave home for a short while, to hatch some grander plans.
More photos below (and don’t be fooled by Waylon’s ceramic, to-go cup look-alike. It’s certainly re-usable.)