Three activities in this life bring me joy: Being with my family, traveling, and practicing yoga. I’ve done yoga for nearly 20 years, and it is for me a journey not unlike the ones I take when I travel. Through yoga I am constantly evolving, always exploring new places and consistently challenging myself to embrace new perspectives. Rolf Gates, author of Meditations from the Mat said it best, “The real payoff of a yoga practice, I came to see, is not a perfect handstand or a deeper forward bend; it is the newly born self that each day steps off the yoga mat and back into life.”

Yoga and travel have been interrelated for many years. Yoga’s origin dates back centuries to India and it is only in the last several decades that yoga has taken root in the West. One consistent theme in every yoga experience is the importance of how stepping outside and connecting with nature allows us the space to move and grow in our practice, our minds, and our lives. It is no surprise then, that Denver and the region’s stunning resort towns have become gathering places for passionate yogis (such as myself!) who love to take their practices on the road.

Each year, Colorado attracts some of the top yoga festivals, yoga teachers, and popular yoga gurus from around the country. From outdoor summer yoga festivals in Denver public parks to big yoga conferences and events, here are just a few of the upcoming yoga festivals coming to the Denver area during the 2014-2015 season.

 

Namaste, at the Wanderlust Festival

 

Yoga Journal Live!

The annual Yoga Journal Live!: Colorado conference, one of industry’s premier yoga teacher training events, returns to its home Sept. 14-21 in Estes Park at the YMCA of the Rockies. This town, located at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, is about two hours from Denver International Airport. The region was hit by devastating floods in 2013, but has recovered and is once again open for business.

In 2014, this event will bring in a wealth of new visitors and some of the best master yoga teachers and experts from around the world, including Kathryn Budig, Jason Crandell, Sadie Nardini, Rodney Yee, and, one of my favorite teachers, Baron Baptiste. The energy of this group and teachers is incredible.

I had a chance to meet Baron in person and interview him three years ago after completing his intense, Foundations in Action training, which changed not only my practice, but my perspective on pursuing my passion for creating a business in travel. If you go to this event, prepare to go with the flow, meet new people and practice yoga, and enjoy music with some of the best yogis in the industry.

Wanderlust Festival

Wanderlust Festival events are in a class all their own. Self-described as “all-out, ecstatic celebrations,” these four-day yoga community festivals bring together the world’s leading yoga teachers, performers, speakers, great music, and food to celebrate a sense of community, fun and connection.

The next Wanderlust Colorado event will be hosted in Aspen-Snowmass during the Fourth of July weekend, July 2-5, 2015. Located more than three hours west of Denver International Airport, Aspen-Snowmass is a spectacular summer mountain setting for Wanderlust, and offers participants ample opportunities to sample the best of the local region: Hiking, outdoor activities, local food, wine, and craft brews.

Each Wanderlust festival also includes a variety of programs and teachings, such as the signature “Speakeasy Lecture Series,” a unique lecture series on mindful living. There also are a series of programs geared toward kids and attending families.

Viewfinder Tip: Be prepared to BYOM (bring your own yoga mat) to most yoga festivals and retreats.

More yoga near Denver

Looking for other yoga classes, festivals, or events when you are visiting Denver? Be sure to check out Colorado Yoga Events on Facebook, a community page updated with the latest yoga events and meditation and wellness classes around the city. During the summer, the popular Yoga Rocks the Park, Denver offers yoga outside in parks around the city, as well as music and family yoga events. This yoga parties usually run through through late September.

Whether you have been practicing yoga for years, or you plan to step on the mat for the very first time, one thing is certain: At all of these events, you will be greeted by your fellow yogis with open arms and a warm namaste.

Photo credits: Header and tile photo by Wari Om, Yuki Tsuji for Yoga Journal Live! Content photo by Bridget Mitchel and AliKaukas-7667 for Wanderlust Festival.

Where is your favorite place to attend a yoga festival or retreat, and why?