Editor’s note: Yes, we know this week is all about Telluride Bluegrass. We know because we are posting, what?, about 10 stories. But we are also thinking ahead. The Telluride Yoga Fest may just be your best antidote to festival overload. Telluride’s summer calendar is wall to wall. Attendance means strained necks from staring up at a stage. Aching backs, legs and feet from too much fun shaking your booty starting at Bluegrass, etc., aching heads and livers that need detoxing from, ahem, overindulgence. Or, you are over it all and want to make big changes in your life. A core definition of yoga is personal transformation. The following is an overview of the Yoga Festival. Try it. You will certainly like it. I have not missed one.

Smack dab in the middle of every definition of yoga, and there are many, is the notion of positive change. In May, Yoga Journal published a major article about yoga practitioners and visionaries working on mitigating the environmental devastation that gets worse every day by suggesting innovative ways to change the way we live on this earth one (LED) lightbulb moment at a time. The Telluride Yoga Festival was founder Aubrey Hackman’s lightbulb moment. And it is all about positive change: personal, interpersonal and environmental.

The fifth annual Telluride Yoga Festival, the country’s most intimate yoga gathering, takes place Thursday, July 12 – Sunday, July 15.

In the summer of 2008, Aubrey, 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 bum 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 Dr. Jayashree and M.A. Narasimhan, who are coming all of the way from Mysore, India to teach yogic philosophy, Sanskrit and mantra. Also presenting are Duncan Wong, Annie Pace, Mark Whitwell, Beryl Bender Birch, Sean Johnson, Alanna Kaivalya, Stacey Rosenberg, Nancy Stechert, Karl Straub, Allison English, the YogaSlackers, Amy Johnson, Jill Lawson, Rachel Nelson, Mike Matsumara, River Cummings, Erin Fleming, Tina Porter and Josh Vincent.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to what Aubrey has to say. (interview 6/4)

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