The Telluride Yoga Festival is a unique yoga event that takes place in beautiful Telluride, Colorado every summer
We had a chance to sit down with the festival’s founder, Aubrey Hackman, and find out much more about this incredible event! Check out our interview below, and click here to purchase your TYF tickets now using promo code YA2011 for an extra 10% off of the ticketed price!
YOGANONYMOUS: Aubrey, thanks so much for taking some time to sit down with us today. Can you tell us a bit about how the Telluride Yoga Festival got started?
Aubrey Hackman: I started the Telluride Yoga Festival due to the desire to create a yoga experience that did less harm to the environment and more good than what I was seeing at other events. Our aim is zero waste in addition to our support of local sustainability efforts with our 25% donation of net proceeds to The New Community Coalition. I just thought that if the realization of yoga is this interconnectedness between all beings, then yoga events should celebrate that and not ignore it by creating a ton of commercial waste, printing on cheap, toxic paper, and/or allowing sponsors who are less than friendly to the environment try to use the yoga community to clean up their reputations. It’s my passion to make this interconnectedness, this point to the practice of yoga just as large and understood as the event itself.
YOGANONYMOUS: Wow, that’s great Aubrey. And what inspired you to do it in Telluride, CO? Can you tell us a little bit about what your experience was like the first year?
Aubrey Hackman: Well, Telluride is where I’ve been living and had been living at the time of the initial concept. Telluride is the festival capital of Colorado and is located in the heart of the highest concentration of 14,000 ft mountain peaks on the continent. The energy in Telluride is uniquely powerful as it sits in a box canyon surrounded by 13,000 ft mountain peaks. It is ideal to say the least for the practice of yoga. So, to be quite honest, I never even considered doing it elsewhere.
The first year was really scary and exciting for me. I don’t who I thought I was inviting such heavy hitting teachers like Richard Freeman, Dr. Svoboda, Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini just to name a few or that they all came out to support a fledgling event, but I think the location of Telluride and the mission behind it’s purpose really attracted them. They were all yoga conference and retreat regulars at that time and I think they had seen a lot of the disconnect that I had. Now everyone tries to make their events environmentally friendly and I think that’s super awesome. But really, I just went for it and didn’t look back. A lot of my friends and yoga students were super excited as well. I couldn’t have done it without the support that I received from my community for sure.
YOGANONYMOUS: Super cool, Telluride is breathtaking! In what ways has the festival continued to grow from that first year into what it is today and what can we expect to see in 2011?
Aubrey Hackman: The Bhakti track for sure is very exciting. The teachers contributing to this specialized track are unique in all of their backgrounds and interpretations, but all of them deeply teach the yoga of devotion or Bhakti. It’s probably the scariest practice for beginners, chanting is- I know it made me kind of uncomfortable when I first started going to yoga, but now sometimes it’s all I need to feel that direct connection.
Also, of course what always has me stoked is the response that I get from the attendees of this event. It’s NOT Wanderlust or Yoga Journal. There are many classes offered at each time so that we can keep class size small. Not even in these presenter’s hometowns do you get classes with 20-25 people. This event offers you not only space between you and another person’s mat, but it also allows you to possibly interact with the teachers. The sizes for 80% of our classes are less than 30 people. We do have larger venues that hold up to 100, but every teacher gets to teach at least once in a small venue so that attendees can get more attention.
YOGANONYMOUS: Gotcha. And what are you most excited about this year?
Aubrey Hackman: 2011 is going to be a really cool festival for sure as we are offering a Bhakti track with some incredible knowledge and talent offered on the subject in addition to a Vinyasa track for those yogis looking to really deepen their flow practice. Every year we offer beginner-advanced tracks as well as specialized tracks like the Bhakti and Vinyasa so that all attendees are catered to. Some classes don’t fall into either specialized track so there is always a plethora of information and experience to be had from the schedule. I am really excited that Sean Johnson and Wah! are coming back for the kirtan- that’s going to be really amazing and it’s free for ticket holders- only $15 for walk-ins.
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