Ready, set, mark your calendars! If your wish list for 2013 includes enjoying asana and music with like-minded folks at a yoga festival, it’s not too early to start planning. The festival season is right around the corner.
You can expect to pay $100-300 a day for a pass that includes asana workshops, live music and kirtan, and outdoor activities in inspiring settings from beaches to mountains. (Often, part of the fee is donated to a charitable cause.) Accommodations run the gamut of prices and amenities, from camping to resort hotels. Pack according to location: swimsuit, water shoes, hiking boots, a sarong or prayer shawl, etc. Because most festivals highlight their natural surroundings, sun protection is as important as your yoga mat and water bottle. And be sure to leave space in your suitcase to bring home some of the cool handcrafted items you’ll find at festival marketplaces.
The ultimate yoga gathering is BhaktiFest, held in Joshua Tree, CA. The lineup includes A-list teachers, and it’s nirvana for kirtan lovers. Past performers have included Krishna Das (a recent Grammy nominee), Jai Uttal, and Deva Premal. But be prepared to test your tapas—summer still has its grip on the Mohave Desert in September—and make plans early, especially if you hope to stay in the retreat center.
Wanderlust, another hugely popular event, heads to both Chile and Oahu in February, with a lineup of yoga luminaries (including Shiva Rea and Baron Baptiste), gourmet food, and surfing. The five-year-old fest features hip urbanities like art exhibits, a teahouse, and dance club against natural backdrops.
If the thought of a big festival overwhelms you, smaller gatherings are held throughout the year. Beginning in February, Sedona, AZ, hosts its first-ever yoga festival. As you might expect in this metaphysical mecca of red rocks and green forests, the focus is on the healing arts. In April, Kundalini yogis gather at Joshua Tree to celebrate sadhana and community. Among the musicians and teachers headlining the Sat Nam Fest are Snatam Kaur, Gurmukh, and Gurunam Singh. The Tadasana Festival, held on Earth Day weekend in Santa Monica, CA, uses the common language of yoga to promote mindful, holistic living.
Things start heating up in May with ShaktiFest (a more intimate version of BhaktiFest). Also held in Joshua Tree, it’s an “ommersion” in the Divine Feminine with music, yoga, and meditation. The warmup for BhaktiFest continues in July at BhaktiFest Midwest, in Madison, WI. Or you can cool off in Colorado’s gorgeous high country at two blissful events, the Hanuman Festival held in Boulder in June, or the Telluride Yoga Festival in July.
Wrap up summer at the Flagstaff Yoga Festival, a friendly, well-organized event featuring regional teachers, situated 90 minutes from Grand Canyon. (Bring hiking boots and a jacket; nights are chilly.) A handful of autumn festivals are still in the incubation stages, including the Austin Yoga Festival, a family-friendly weekend that includes kids’ classes, films, and other activities.
These are just a few of the yoga festivals already on the calendar for 2013. What’s happening in your yoga neighborhood?