I got home from Aspen, CO last week after 5 days of yoga fun at the Wanderlust Festival. I used to live in Aspen, so it was great to return to the Roaring Fork Valley and see old friends as well as be immersed in yoga all day, every day.
This was the first yoga festival that I have attended where I wasn’t working or teaching, so I had the luxury of just getting to be a student and soak it all up. I love yoga festivals because they are amazing places to find inspiration, to gain clarity, and for bringing a shot of invigoration into my practice. I got to take class from so many amazing instructors, and learned a lot. When you experience 12-16 classes in four days, you get a smorgasbord of different styles, voices, messages, and teachings. Sometimes, it just is really nice to switch it up! I really enjoyed Eion Finn’s jokes in class, and Erinn Lewis’ sweet energy in her Nidra and Yin classes.
When we are just practicing/teaching in our own communities, with the same students and same teachers, there is a common phenomenon that occurs. I have observed this phenomenon for years, and call it the “telephone effect”- when a specific cue or sequence gets really popular and all of a sudden you hear it used or taught in every class you attend. And this cue or sequence crosses through all different studios and all different teachers, it is not studio specific. For awhile, it was a cue in Trikonasa (Triangle) to ‘imagine your body pressed between two panes of glass’, and then I stopped hearing that in class (I now hear it occasionally again) and noticed that teachers were all teaching Bird of Paradise as a peak pose. In fact, I did so many Bird of Paradise poses in a short time period that I got sick of it and now kind of avoid it (I know, I know, I am still investigating my reaction…).
I am not immune to this yogic version of the old-school game of Telephone, but as I have consciously developed my skills as a yoga instructor, I have noticed when this happens and now make efforts to be my own person when I teach. Ultimately, all yoga and yoga teachings stem from the same original sources, so it isn’t so much about WHAT we teach as HOW we teach it.
This is where Wanderlust and other yoga festivals come into play. As a student and a teacher, I get to try new things and approach my practice from a perspective I perhaps have never considered. I heard beautiful cues and verbage, learned new workshop techniques for backbends, got to have a conversation about my deity archtype, hang out with other yogis, meditate, chant, connect, and have fun. I came home to Utah with a lot of new ideas and felt as if a “refresh” button had been hit on my own teaching. Attending yoga festivals and conferences is fun, but it is also a way to temporarily opt-out of the game of Telephone in your community, and bring new cues and teaching methods back to your classes.
Interested in attending a yoga festival? Join me September 10th-13th at the Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree, California!