Are yoga festivals the new Coachella?

Musical festivals get an entire season. I hear people no longer calling it spring and summer but rather, festival season. The span of time from just before Coachella through Austin City Limits in October. However, I have found myself this year wanting more than a music festival. I want an experience; a holistic weekend that might rattle the person I am and shape me into something more. I am not looking just to party with my vinas all summer, but to commune on a higher level. Or at the very least: I’d like to remember it. It was this desire that led me to start looking into yoga festivals; this same desire that found me in Boise, Idaho upside down on a Friday afternoon at Yogafort.

Yogafort is a sect of Treefort, an arts festivals (yes based around music) that offers its festival goers a more  holistically artistic experience. Alongside their stellar musical line up, they host a variety of forts that cater to your every curiosity and artistic need.

From Foodfort to Hackfort, Alefort to Storyfort, the list goes on and on. You can spend your five days of festival listening to fiction readings, or attending yoga classes taught by some of the most accomplished teachers in the world. You can catch an early show or class and then dine on tasty bites and craft beer from every restaurant in town. You can wander the city and take in the art, see a comedy show, take a nap, and then do it all over again.

photo credit: Matthew Wordell

I was a little shy showing up to Yogafort. I’d never been to a yoga festival and I was a little hungover from a show the night before. I felt immediately wrapped up in the warmth of the room, the vibration of the teachers, the open arms of the community. No one cared what I was wearing or what my job title is. The incredible lack of pretension sealed the deal for me.

I am a yoga festival goer from now on. As the five days of Treefort passed I lured friend after friend with me to more yoga classes than I could count. And every single time I left not only feeling more positive about myself, but a little closer to my vina on the mat next to me.

photo credit: Peter Lovera

Yogafort occurs as an offshoot of Treefort every year in late March; so mark your calendars and plan to head to Boise, Idaho. In the meantime, I’ve dug up a list of what look like the most promising yoga festivals out there, many of which I am already planning a trip to…

Wanderlust Festival– Quite possibly the most well known and popular festival in the yoga circuit. This means a few things: tons of people and a major draw for some of the best teachers in the world. Held around the world several times a year, Wanderlust offers a full line up of activities, seminars, feasts, live music, and ways to enjoy the epic locations they bring you to. This is a must.

Telluride Yoga Festival- I hear there is magic up there in them hills. Telluride Yoga Festival is regarded as one of the most intimate and profound festivals in the country. It has been hosted in the gorgeous town of Telluride, Colorado for the last ten years, and has people coming back again and again. It is also rumored that if you are a yoga instructor or plan to become one, this will inspire you beyond belief.

Sam Nam Fest- The first time I went to Joshua Tree, California I felt like I had a spiritual experience. It doesn’t surprise me that the most talked about kundalini festival is held there. I imagine attending and coming out the other side an entirely different person. Kundalini yoga, in my opinion, takes a certain kind of discipline; although they all do, this one feels greater to me. If you want to attend, try a kundalini class before hand and make sure it’s your jam.

photo credit: Peter Lovera

Bhakti Fest-  They call this the yoga and music experience of a lifetime. And I don’t doubt it for a second. Held annually in Joshua Tree in early September, they certainly pull out all the stops; providing you with an experience you won’t soon forget. This one is at the top of my list, with seminars on sound healing and yoga classes of all kinds, chakra readings and a generally glorious vibe.

Northwest Yoga Feast-  A yoga fest that focuses equal parts on the body and how to nourish it through delicious food. SIGN ME UP. Held annually in Sandpoint, Idaho (which is insanely gorgeous, at the northern top of the state). The festival hosts as many chances to eat as it does yoga classes. It’s more a celebration of life, sustainability, and heath. Yes please.

photo credit: Peter Lovera
photo credit: Matthew Wordell
photo credit: Peter Lovera
photo credit: Peter Lovera

So get your “om” on and get your toned booty to a yoga festival. And join the yoga community on the Hey! VINA app so you can make a friend to go with!

Have you been to a yoga festival before? Are you planning a trip right now? Tell us which one in the comments below!

(Feature image and all other imagery via Treefort Music Fest)

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