Yoga

Telluride Yoga Festival Winter Retreat Round Up

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A couple of weeks ago, the Telluride Yoga Festival held their 1st annual Winter Retreat…

This beautiful article was written by Brittany Butcher about her experience – enjoy!

Snow-capped ridges float into the heavens from every angle. Bluebird skies hover above while dreamy white swathes that trace around Mountain Village down to the quaint town of Telluride. Here, the San Juan peaks of the southern Rocky Mountains wrap their powdery arms around you and whisk you away to a winter wonderland.

This spectacular scene set the stage for the first Telluride Yoga Festival Winter Retreat, hosted by the same group who runs the festival each July. Aubrey Hackman and her dedicated team ushered in the new spring event from March 10-13th at The Peaks Resort and Spa.

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A small contingent of yogis, from beginners to advanced practitioners, gathered for four days of vinyasa, gentle flow yoga and restorative sessions. Hackman teaches a Jivamukti while fellow instructors local Victoria Hoffman and New York City-based David Hollander are ashtangis through and through. Telluridian and certified Iyengar instructor Annie Clark rounded out the afternoons with sweet, restorative alignment sessions.

“There’s something really clean and sacred about the energy of Telluride, and I think that’s why people flock to the mountains in general,” Hackman said. “It serves as a catapult for positive vibes.”

Hackman began the long weekend with a gentle flow in the Yoga Room at The Spa at the Peaks. After an hour of working our way through an open-level class and coming out of a blissful savasana, Anand McManus, of Durango, CO, looked out the window toward the west and said, “I tell my husband all the time that Telluride has the most beautiful sunsets.”

Sitting on our mats, we all turned to see brush-stroked clouds of brilliant orange and peach turn to crimson and finally fade into slate as the stars began to emerge. She wasn’t kidding – I never expected to see such a stunning view in the mountains. In my experience only beach paradises offered such as a luscious taste of evening beauty.

Each session filled either the Yoga Room or the Movement Room at The Peaks with an eclectic mix of locals and visitors from around Colorado as well as yogis and yoginis from New York City, Chicago, Oklahoma, Texas and California.

Some practitioners hit the slopes at Telluride Ski Resort between classes, while others indulged in The Peaks spa services that came complimentary with the weekend yoga pass. Hollander took advantage of Clark’s winter wisdom and had his first cross-country skiing lesson.

“It is wonderful for the practice to be in the high elevation and super clean air,” Hollander said. “The beautiful environment and outdoor activities add a so much to the days in Telluride. There is a festive fun atmosphere that really encourages you to relax and enjoy the experience.”

Yogis ready for a summer adventure can check out the upcoming Telluride Yoga Festival, which kicks off July 14, 2011. Participants will have the opportunity to practice with world-renowned instructors like David Swenson, Beryl Bender Birch, Mark Whitwell, Alanna Kaivalya and Karl Straub. Music from Wah! and Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band will ring off the red rocks around Telluride.

Last year more than 700 yogis converged on the small mountain town, and the program continues to grow as does the spread of awareness and consciousness our yoga practice brings.

“Expect top notch instructors in a peaceful mountain setting, clean air, great food and beauty every place you look,” said Hollander. “If there was ever a good place to reach Samadhi, this is it folks – come to the high places for the ancient knowledge!”

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For more information on the Telluride Yoga Festival, visit the website