Beyonce’s guitarist and yogi Bibi McGill one of many to headline 3rd annual Steamboat Movement Fest this weekend |

Beyonce’s guitarist and yogi Bibi McGill one of many to headline 3rd annual Steamboat Movement Fest this weekend

A photo from one of the yoga classes offered during one of the past Steamboat Movement Fest events. This year the festival will be led by a variety of 32 distinguished yoga instructors, musicians and fitness specialists.
Danielle Zimmerer Photography/courtesy
What to know before you go:
  • Vendors Village will not have food
“Because we are located in downtown, we didn’t feel it was necessary to have separate food vendors and we want people to enjoy what Steamboat has to offer,” said Talaya Thomas, co-founder of Steamboat Movement Fest and local yoga instructor.
  • Classes to get to any immersion
“Those are smaller classes so you get much more of an in-depth experience and you don’t usually get that benefit,” Thomas said.
  • Also try one of the SUP or outdoor adventure classes (i.e. biking, slacklining, etc.)
  • Don’t miss the opening and closing ceremonies all are donation-based and open to the community
  • Make the schedule fit you – mix it up do breath work classes or attend a community panel discussion. All classes are meant to be approachable for all levels.
“It’s about the whole experience rather than trying to pack it all in,” Thomas said. “Create the schedule in a way that will serve you best and who you are.”
  What to bring:
  • Light snacks and water(lighter snacks like nuts, bars, fruit and water)
  • Bring Layers – it will be cold in the mornings and warm up during the day
  • Journal – some classes or workshops you may want to take some notes
  • An open mind - explore something outside your comfort zone

What is the first thing that comes to mind with you hear the word yoga?

Bibi McGill, international yogi, said it’s a word often met with excuses in the form of “Oh, I can’t do that; I’m not flexible enough” or “Oh, I don’t have the right body type for that.”

But yoga cannot be defined by these limiting beliefs.

“That’s not what yoga is about,” said McGill, who discovered yoga in 1996 and now leads classes and workshops at studios and festivals around the world. She’s also a guitarist, producer and DJ best known as the lead guitarist and musical director of Beyoncé’s backup band, the Suga Mamas, as well as for her work with Pink.

“It’s about inner peace, healing, finding a connection to yourself,” McGill explained. “Yoga is for everybody.”

And this weekend, people of all ages and body types will have the chance to discover yoga and movement of all forms during the third annual Steamboat Movement Fest.

The festival kicks off Friday with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the Gondola Square Stage, featuring gongs with Rowse. That will be followed by local instructor Libbie Mathes’ pranayama session. At 10 a.m., McGill will lead an outdoor community yoga class.

Shortly after, the live entertainment portion of the opening ceremony begins with We Dream Dawn, the neo-folk quintet created by Sage Cook, founding member of Elephant Revival.

Leading the festival will be 33 distinguished yoga instructors, musicians and fitness specialists from around the country and 16 instructors from Steamboat.

With classes, workshops and discussions continuing through Sunday, a few of the new offerings this year include: a morning road ride led by Michelle Freckleton; Acro yoga and Slackline yoga classes with Allison Gordon and Michelle Griffith; more Pranayama breath work classes; and a variety of panel discussions with featured instructors at the “Vendors Village” in West Lincoln Park, which will be the festival’s base area.

“Movement can be of many different forms,” said Kristen Rockford, co-founder of Steamboat Movement Fest. “It’s spiritual, physical and mental. That’s what we are trying to evoke by providing a platform for a person to move toward wellness. And that can come in any form.”

It could be inspiring someone to put a business plan into action or taking up a regular practice of meditation, or maybe it involves pushing up into your first backbend and having your line of vision turned upside down.

Rockford and Talaya Thomas, yoga instructor and co-founder of the Steamboat Movement Fest, said they also wanted to offer more community and family-friendly events to provide the same inspiration of wellness to kids as well as parents.

“We hope that on an individual level each person walks away feeling uplifted, motivated and inspired to go do positive things or ignite positive change,” Rockford said. “Positive change ultimately affects the community as a whole and can cause a ripple affect.”

Other weekend activities include kids yoga, storytelling with Booktrails, African dance and drumming and stand-up paddle boarding yoga.

New venues will also be another aspect of this year’s festival. Rockford said the Vendor Village will continue to serve as the Movement Fest’s base location, but classes and workshops will be held at local studios throughout town to showcase the flourishing yoga community in Steamboat.

Beyond the yoga component, there will be more panel discussions covering a variety of topics, including sustainability.

“It really speaks to the question of what does sustainability mean and how do you live sustainability?” Rockford said. “It will discuss the notion that if you are a yogi, how can you take the principles you learn on the mat and apply those to other areas of your life.”

“How you are on your mat is how you are in your life,” McGill said. “Think about holding your breath when all you can think about is how you want to get out of a difficult pose. People want to run when it gets hot in the kitchen but I tell people to just breathe through it. Keep your grounding, focus on what’s important, not whatever it is you think the person next to you is thinking.”

Yoga, McGill said, is about revelation.

“Things are going to come up, and it’s OK to acknowledge those things,” McGill said. “But be the observer. Let those feelings or emotions pass through you. We can’t be too hard on ourselves either, there’s a balance to acknowledge and embrace thoughts or emotions that put you in the past or future. But find a way to come back to where you are right now.

“Bring an open mind and a playful heart,” McGill added. “It will be a good time with good vibes.”

To find the full schedule of classes and workshops visit

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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