Telluride Yoga Festival: Peter Sterios

The 7th annual Telluride Yoga Fest takes place this week, July 10 – July 13, with a class for all levels of practitioners: 4-day Guru pass, $495; 3-day Namaste pass, $395; 3-class pass, $108; all-day intensive, $150. Buy here now.

The origins and actions we now call the art and science of yoga remain obscure, although there is evidence that religious ascetics were wandering around North India as early as the 5th century B.C. practicing meditation and breath control (pranayama) in pursuit of mind-over-matter transformation. By the second century A.D., their methods were codified in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a user’s guide to the ancient tradition in which the sage suggests that if you mind your “ps” and “qs” and get really good at your practice, you might be able to read minds, revisit the past, even learn to fly.

Peter Sterios

Peter Sterios

Today, ambitions are no less lofty, though slightly more grounded. Today scientists anticipate that based on evolving evidence-based studies, yoga will become a routine offering in schools, hospitals, even the military because legions of practitioners – about 20 million Americans alone – know the disciplines involved make people physically, physiologically and emotionally buffer. One neuroscientist recently compared yoga to a “toothbrush for the body and mind.”

Among the true believers are the tribe who gather annually at the Telluride Yoga Festival. Now under the direction of Albert Roer, director, and Erika Henschel, director, the 7th annual Telluride Yoga Festival takes place Thursday, July 10-Sunday, July 13, 2014. The event includes more than 85 classes, workshops, lecturers and events in a total of 11 venues in both Telluride and Mountain Village and over 30 top-tier presenters. The list includes Beryl Bender Birch, Scott Blossom, Micheline Berry, Noah Maze, Cat McCarthy – and Peter Sterios.

In teacher mode, adjusting one his students

In teacher mode, adjusting one his students

An internationally recognized teacher based in San Luis Obispo, California, Peter has been part of the American yoga community for over three decades. The award-winning, green architect is also a founder (in 1997) of Manduka, a leading eco-yoga products company (and event sponsor) and a writer, with articles appearing in Yoga Journal, elephant Journal, etc. In 2012 and 2013, Peter was part of select group of instructors who taught yoga at the White House for Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative. He co-founded karmaNICA, a nonprofit whose mission is to help impoverished young people in western Nicaragua.

“Gravity & Grace,” an approach to a practice Peter Sterios developed over 30 years of study and practice in America and India, rests squarely on the ancient yoga teachings as they were channeled through Sri Krishnamacharya, the man credited with opening the door of yoga to the West. In the classes Peter will teach at the Telluride Yoga Festival – Gravity & Grace: Yoga for Longevity, Spine Mechanics and Seeds for Creative Yoga –  he will challenge students to observe how the subtle external force of gravity influences what they are doing on their mats and offer ways to surrender to any resistance experienced in their physical (and emotional) body. The idea is that by softening to the resistance through the breath, we become stronger inside and out. If we are no longer distracted by muscular tensions, if we are no longer a slave to external stimuli of any kind, we can become more attuned to the life force, prana, as it travels on the breathe throughout our bodies.

Peter finds (arm) balance in his life

Peter finds (arm) balance in his life

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my chat with Peter Sterios.

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