Good morning. Welcome. I hope everyone brought their own mats because I am fresh out of extra ones. Everyone please find a comfortable spot to sit or lounge and then gently take a deep, slow cleansing breath all the way down into your belly, and just let all the stress from your day melt away.
Now close your eyes and picture yourself stretching in the great outdoors, at the foot of a mountain, with the fresh scent of lodgepole pine in the crisp alpine air. Now envision yourself surrounded by fellow yoga enthusiasts from all over, learning at the flexible feet of the biggest names in the yogic world. Now imagine yourself doing it on a standup paddleboard in a refreshing lake.
Breathe. Find your balance. OK, now put your foot behind your head.
Good. Hold that awhile.
Now open your eyes and head out to Snowmass this weekend for the second annual Yoga on the Mountain, where you can make all that stuff happen in real life and not just in your imagination – well, except the foot-behind-the-head part if you’re a stiff like me.
The sophomore version of YOTM will feature yoga celebrities from all over the country as well as local favorites like Evan Soroka, Gina Murdock, Jess Ewart, Arielle Shipe, Jayne Gottlieb and Ally Morrison. They’ll be leading classes (yes, some will be on paddleboards) and heading health-focused presentations, meaningful discussions and meditation. There will also be hikes, eco-friendly shopping and a bigger role for music.
“We want this to be a movement and music festival, more than yoga,” said event producer Krista Debuhr in an email. “The Yoga Mountain Jam will feature live music by We Dream Dawn (with Sage Cook and Bridget Law, formerly with Elephant Revival). There’ll be hikes that end with an outdoor yoga experience and guided meditations with Sound Off, which are avant-garde wireless headphones for maximum introspection and powerful experience.”
YOTM Snowmass, the highest-elevation yoga festival in America, is a sister event to a YOTM held each year since 2014 in the Ozark Mountains, at the highest point in the state of Arkansas. Debuhr, who hails from Fayetteville, Ark., is a Lululemon brand ambassador and the owner of Trailside Yoga in Fayetteville. Her company, Power Yoga Retreats, produces YOTMs, which she thinks everyone could benefit from.
“More than ever, these intimate gatherings of like-minded individuals are life-changing,” Debuhr wrote. “They inspire personal growth, healthy lifestyles and creativity. Just by the simple nature of coming together to learn, we (humankind) are motivated to serve the world.”
The events kick off this afternoon with a complementary yoga class in Base Village at 4 p.m. followed by a 6:30 p.m. free concert from We Dream Dawn. Official classes start tomorrow at 10 a.m. (See the full schedule and purchase tickets at yotmfestival.com.)
Until you can get to Snowmass, if you need to relax, take some advice from Debuhr.
“The power of one deep breath can transform stress and anger to gratitude and compassion. Give it a try, right now, in this moment.”
See? What did I tell you?