Yoga Fests Worth Traveling for This Summer
Discover 5 amazing fests across the country.
Whether you're a beginner or a teacher, take your yoga practice out of the studio and into the great outdoors for a weekend. Read on for our picks of the best yoga festivals happening across the U.S. this summer.
Wanderlust Festival, various dates and locations
Wanderlust kicked off in Squaw Valley in 2009, and has quickly spread to (mostly) mountainous regions around the world. It’s also become one of the most popular yoga festivals thanks to a mix of all-star teachers (Sri Dharma Mittra, Kathryn Budig), musicians (Yeasayer, MC YOGI) and non-stop fun. Classes stretch from sunrise to sunset, and run the creative gamut from aerial yoga to blacklight (for a glow-in-the dark experience). Non-yoga options also abound: take a hula hoop class, or, depending on the location, kayak, bike or hike with musician Garth Stevenson. When you inevitably get tired, decompress at lectures, meditation sessions or classes called “Yoga, Breathe, Chillax.” Evenings bring farm-to-table dinners, wine tastings (not a given at yoga fests), performances, campfires, or all-out dance parties headlined by DJ Tasha Blank, founder of famed dance party The Get Down. Upcoming summer festivals include the aforementioned Squaw Valley, Stratton, Vermont, Aspen, Colorado and Whistler and Tremblant in Canada.
Yoga Journal LIVE!, various dates and locations
The Yoga Journal Conference was one of the first on the scene about 20 years ago, and now holds events around the country. Unlike other festivals, it’s part conference since a certain percentage of classes are geared toward yoga instructors, while others drill down on topics like connective tissue. That said, the conference attracts practitioners of all skill levels, plus it’s not lacking in the fun department since there’s a balanced mix of educational and playful classes. While there aren’t any late-night dance parties, the upcoming conference in San Diego, from June 24-27, offers classes devoted to the music of Prince, plus stand-up paddleboard yoga and yoga on the beach. The events also feature a packed lineup of celebrity yoga teachers, such as Seane Corn, Shiva Rea and Vinnie Marino.
Hanuman Festival, June 9-12, Boulder, Colorado
Carl Kerridge Photography
Now in its sixth year, this yoga and music fest attracts renowned instructors (Annie Carpenter, Amy Ippoliti) and musicians such as indie favorite Magic Giant. It’s geared toward all yoga levels, and while most classes are Vinyasa style, there’s a smattering of options, including Hatha and Kundalini. When it feels like you can’t do one more yoga class, hike in the Rocky Mountains, poke around more than 50 booths in the vendor village, or grab a bite from on-site food trucks serving organic fare. Or venture off-site to explore the quaint streets of downtown Boulder, which is just a stroll away.
Telluride Yoga Festival, July 21-24, Telluride, Colorado
Courtesy of Joanie Schwarz Portraiture
Telluride Yoga Festival’s remote location and smaller participation rate lends itself to a more intimate, off-the-grid experience. However, smaller doesn’t mean inferior; yoga buffs will recognize popular teachers such as Tias Little and Coby Kozlowski. Telluride is similar to Wanderlust since it offers a wide variety of classes and styles, from acroyoga to yoga on a standup paddleboard. Switch it up by mountain biking or hiking — just FYI, the Via Ferrata hike is not for the faint-of-heart, since it involves clinging to the side of a mountain. It should also be noted that venues are split between the town of Telluride and Mountain Village, but a short gondola ride proves a fun way to traverse the two. For downtime, there are lectures, meditation sessions and a marketplace. Evenings are low key and bring the opportunity to grab drinks with friends and some of the instructors during Cocktails & Conversations.
Bhakti Fest West, Sept. 8-11, Joshua Tree, California
Courtesy Bhakti Fest
For a more spiritual experience, head to Bhakti Fest West in Joshua Tree, California. (Bonus: It’s close to the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park.) The bhakti in Bhakti Fest represents a devotional yoga path, so kirtan (devotional music and chanting) and meditation are key components. In fact, the musician roster reads like a who’s who in the kirtan world, with MC YOGI, Krishna Das, Sheela Bringi and more performing (literally) 'round the clock. Be mindful that although the fest rocks a Woodstock vibe, no alcohol or drugs are allowed. However, that didn’t stop about 5,000 people from attending last year to take classes with world-renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea and Govind Das & Radha. Classes run from breakfast to dinner, with styles (Ashtanga, Kundalini) and levels for everyone. Luckily there’s a coffee shop for when you want to attend everything, and a healing sanctuary (offering massages and bodywork) for when you don’t.