Telluride Yoga Fest: Beryl Bender Birch Returns
The 10th annual Telluride Yoga Fest, July 20 – July 23, features top tier presenters, among them, Beryl Bender Birch, plus hikes, SUP, music, inspirational talks, and more.
“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft, can you be extremely hard and strong,” Zen proverb.
To learn more, please scroll down to listen to a podcast featuring iconic yoga instructor Beryl Bender Birch.
We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Over-population and its corollary over-consumption, climate change or global warming, The Great Divide within our country and terrorism around the world, are among the challenges that add up to a crisis of galactic proportions with consequences that include all-caps stress and one of its sidebars, an opioid epidemic in the US.
In short: We are in a mess.
But “How to Face the Mess We Are in Without Going Crazy?”
That is the exact theme of one of the classes led by yogalebrity Beryl Bender Birch, a returning featured speaker at the upcoming Telluride Yoga Festival.
The course descriptions states the obvious:
We cannot retreat to our yoga studios and hide or revert to our “Business As Usual’” mindset. If we are here, we are awake, aware, and privileged. We have an obligation to get out there in the world, dig in, and do the work, to speak out and stand up for social justice, equality, and protection of Mother Earth. With support from our sanga (community) and with strong, committed yoga practice, we can shift our cultural consciousness from faster and farther to balanced and sustainable. We can avoid despair and helplessness and identify and overcome the obstacles that accompany every adventurer on every journey. Join Beryl and friends in interactive process by teaming up for discussion and creating tips to take home.
The class, a Yoga Fest weekend closer on Sunday, July 23, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., bills itself as a “100 percent interactive” with discussions and exercises.
Beryl Bender Birch’s history is the history of Yoga in America, a story of assimilation and diversification and now, big business. This spiritual teacher, yoga therapist, and author (“Power Yoga,””Boomer Yoga,” “Beyond Power Yoga”) was an early adaptor and pioneer in the early 70s, the tie-dyed days of drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll.
After moving from New York City to California in 1971, which at the time was a pretty rockin’ place and the epicenter of the human potential movement, Beryl met and studied with many of the first teachers to come from the East to the West: Swami Satchidananda, Swami Vishnudevananda, Chogyam Trugpa Rinpoche, Yogi Bhajan, and Munishree Chitrabhanu.
As a direct result, Beryl, a former student of philosophy and comparative religion and biofeedback researcher with degrees in English and philosophy, became an avid student of yoga and the study of consciousness in general.
In 1974, Beryl began to teach yoga and meditation to skiers in Winter Park. Six years later, she returned to New York, the place of her birth, to practice Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of Norman Allen. (Allen was Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ first American student and the first Westerner to master the Astanga series and bring it to the US)
Still ahead of the pack, Beryl introduced yoga to a group of elite athletes, teaching Astanga at the prestigious New York Road Runners Club.
Throughout the 1980s, for one whole decade, Beryl and her late husband Thom Birch remained the only teachers in the Ashtanga tradition on the East Coast, teaching that particular approach to asana, pranayama, and dharana (concentration) to tens of thousands of students.
In the late 80’s, Beryl coined the term “Power Yoga” as a way for the Western mind to relate to what was then the obscure ancient practice of Astanga yoga, a workout for the mind and body.
Beryl became the founder and director of The Hard & the Soft Yoga Institute (since 1980) now based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. For decades, she has been teaching classical yoga all over the world, guiding and inspiring students of all levels with her down-to-earth style, while continuing her work in teacher trainings and spiritual activism.
Beryl is also co-founder and board chair of Give Back Yoga Foundation, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Through grants, Give Back supports yoga teachers from all traditions, helping them to develop give-back projects that support the under-served and under-resourced segments of their respective communities.
Give Back also offers support for and training in five different programs: veterans, prisoners, 12-Step recovery, eating disorders, and cancer survivors.
On Friday, July 21, 8:30 – 10: 30 p.m., this iconic instructor guides a class entitled Breathe in, Breathe Out. That’s All, in the focus is on simple, conscious breathing techniques and meditation to help attendees get grounded and centered for the rest of Yoga Fest weekend.
Later that same day, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Beryl leads Yoga Nidra-Deep Relaxation & Altered States, a chill-out also designed for calming and centering
In Present Power: Breathe, Flow, Focus, and Fire!!, Saturday, July 22, 8 – 10 p.m., Beryl offers a balanced asana sequence that pushes limits and again, aligns body and mind.
In addition to her classes, Beryl Bender Birch participates in two Inspirational Talks: Vegetarianism and Political Activism (Friday at noon) and Living Your Yoga and Performing Seva (Saturday at 5 p.m.).
She is also included in the WordFlow Book Signing and Fair, again on Saturday.
To learn more, click the play button and listen to Beryl’s podcast.