In celebration of yoga on the Western Slope, the Yoga House in Montrose is putting on the first-ever yoga festival at the Montrose County Fairgrounds and Event Center from Oct. 11 through Oct. 13.
Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes for the three-day-long festival that includes a variety of yoga classes and workshops. There will be presenters from around the state and a vendor fair open to the public on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Some of the vendors include Lululemon, Darc Moon, Lucky Tree Studio, Birds and Berry Studio, doTerra and Colorado Yoga and Life Magazine.
“The festival is come and go as you please,” said Kylie Davis, studio manager and yoga teacher at Yoga House. “Normally at festivals you have to pick and choose which classes to attend, but with our linear schedule you can attend all of the classes if you want to.”
Classes and workshops range from a Pranayama (breathing) workshop to the science of OM workshop. There is an introduction to inversions class, a gong bath, candle light meditations and more.
Not only is the festival meant to inspire and grow the yoga community on the Western Slope, but it is also in celebration of the Yoga House’s one-year anniversary.
“The mission statement for the festival quickly became to celebrate yoga on the Western Slope because there is so much more yoga now than there was a year and a half ago,” said Melissa Lowe, Yoga House owner.
“The festival is a collaboration of so many great people. At the studio there are eight instructors total including myself and we’ve really tried to become a hub for yoga.”
The decor for the event is being coordinated by Erin Porteous, a yoga instructor at Yoga House and the owner of Petula Designs.
“We are calling it a yogi boho style,” said Porteous. “We want this to be a chance for people to experience the different aspects of yoga without feeling intimidated. It is going to be colorful, fresh, inviting and warm. Whether you have a ticket or not, our goal is to make it fun for everyone.”
Porteous said there will be conversation spaces for people to mingle and enjoy refreshments in between classes and workshops. There will be meditation spaces set up inside the festival as well as in the vendor area.
“I hope people can come to the festival and not only enjoy the fun aspects, but also the physical side of yoga,” said Porteous. “I want people to find their breath again. So many of us don’t breathe during the day and if this event can give people even an hour to take a breath then I think that is so important.”
One of the festival and Yoga House’s core values is to make yoga accessible to everyone.
Lowe said one of the ways the team did that is by making the festival price relatively low, compared to others on the Western Slope.
“We want to introduce more locals to to yoga and the benefits it has physically and mentally,” said Davis.
People think they can’t do yoga if they aren’t flexible, said Davis. But the truth is that yoga is really not about the perfect postures or alignment, but rather approaching the practice wherever you’re at, she said.
“My passion for bringing yoga to the community of Montrose really stems from growing up as a third generation skydiver,” said Lowe. “My father was a pioneer in skydiving and held great events. I learned so much from his community philosophy and modeled the Yoga House after it.”
The classes at the festival will be held by local instructors from Yoga House, Spring Creek Yoga, Revive Body and Soul Yoga and the Uncompahgre Yoga Circle. The workshops will be led by local instructors as well as guest presenters, Brian Coones, Alana Yerman, Kali Durga Yoga and The Alchemy of Sound.
“It’s about honoring the body,” said Davis. “Yoga is a great for fitness, flexibility and balance but it is also an amazing tool to find peace and relaxation. It’s a good way to slow down and look inward. It has been shown to benefit people who suffer from depression or anxiety and it is a great way to practice gratitude. That is often what I use it for.”
Lowe also hopes the festival will help break down the stigmas surrounding yoga.
“It took me a while to identify as a yogi because I never felt ‘yogi’ enough,” said Lowe. “When I opened the Yoga House I wanted to drop the stigma. Everyone is welcome here; we don’t force any dogma’s and it is a safe place for everyone to learn. So we really wanted the festival to have that same feel and culture. We want to provide an open door for people to come in, check it out and learn what yoga is really about.”
Registration is open now and includes an all access three-day festival pass and a thank you tote bag. The cost of advance registration is $ 75; $100 at the door.
Davis encouraged those interested to purchase tickets for the event before the price goes up on Monday.
To register for the event and to learn more visit https://coloradoyogahouse.com/montrose-yoga-festival/#
Emily Ayers is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.