Arts and Entertainment reporter attends first yoga festival held in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Arts and Entertainment reporter attends first yoga festival held in Steamboat Springs

— What is a yoga festival all about, really about?

It's not about how good or experienced you are at yoga, it's not about the clothing— no matter how much you envy some of the instructors vibrant yoga pants — or even what specific classes you take.

After I attended my first yoga festival this weekend, the Steamboat Movement Fest, I found that it's about finding a connection with yourself, the people around you and, more importantly, being present in the moment.

"I think in our daily lives we have become a lot more detached and as adults, just that word adults makes us more boring or to have a lack of playing, excitement joy and fun," said Alfred Kendrick, instructor of Capoeira and founder of Fit Arts from Los Angeles. "But these festivals teach us how to have fun again and teaches us how to play and love again in every moment."

I also learned that a hug, not a handshake was the standard greeting and that a personal connection was made with every person I met. It was all part of the experience, this festival that was seemingly in its own world at the Steamboat Grand.

"This really is a conscious community of brothers and sisters where a hug as a hello is part of the experience," said Sat Kiret from Santa Barbra, who was the volunteer coordinator for the Steamboat Movement Fest. "People were really excited to connect and I think a lot of really great friendships were born. They are here to grow and expand and I think that's what yoga does in general. It taps into those audiences who are looking for soul experiences, connections and friendships."

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Setting out with my list of classes I hoped to attend, I quickly learned that I would have to let that expectation go based on how sore my body actually became and the back-to-back list I scheduled for myself was impossible to follow.

But this feeling of stress and missing out went away after letting that go and fully immersing into the whole experience of the festival. This notion of being present kept repeating — almost like a mantra — through my head. It's something everyone struggles with, I am fully guilty of this. Our lives are full of distractions.

"How many opportunities have you missed by not being in the moment or being present," Local inspirational speaker and life coach Todd Musselman asked a crowd of yoga instructors and attendees Sunday afternoon. "Conversations determine the relationships in your life. Be in this moment."

However, this was a festival that offered a weekend attendees could step away from their busy lives and experience a moment in its entirety. We learned to appreciate those moments, to get back to that breath and to simply, let go.

There were classes such as ColoFlow, Vin to Yin for the hips and heart and Earthing Yoga that offered a more relaxing and restorative experience, while others such as Yoga Sculpt, Friday Night Live, Party on a Steamboat and Outlaw Yoga had a more energizing feel. The list and variety of classes didn't stop there, however, the 34 local and visiting instructors taught classes such as Bihar Yoga, Capoeria, Kundalini Yoga, Qigong, Core Cocktails, even hiking and running yoga.

Although the Steamboat Movement Fest is in its first year, many said that it has the promise to become something bigger and better with the passing of each summer.

"It's small, it's intimate, it's personal and I think this is only the beginning which is how it should be with the start of something great," said Kendrick who attends many yoga festivals on a regular basis.

But now what? Where do I go from here after this experience of feeling completely — despite a few challenging poses — relaxed. Will my zen become a distant memory?

"What I do is to try to remember and relate as much as I can from that experience to my daily life to keep me balanced," Kendrick said. "We are blessed to be at a festival like this with all of this playfulness, love and joy. Because when we go back to our daily lives we have something to compare it to and that is where that growth comes from."

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

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