Telluride Yoga Fest: Senior Iyengar Yoga Instructor Nancy Stechert Returns

Popular Senior Iyengar Instructor Nancy Stechert of Hotchkiss Yoga Tree, a regular at the Telluride Yoga Center and the Telluride Yoga Festival returns to teach at the 10th annual Telluride Yoga Fest. The weekend, July 20 – July 23, features top tier presenters, hikes, SUP, music, inspirational talks, and more. Tickets/passes to the Telluride Yoga Festival here. 

Please scroll down to the bottom of the story to listen to Nancy Stechert’s podcast.

Nancy Stechert, Senior Iyengar Instructor, returns to teach at 10th annual Telluride Yoga Festival.

The 10th annual Telluride Yoga Fest is the stage for Nancy Stechert’s encore.

In January, senior Iyengar instructor Nancy Stechert, a very popular instructor at the Telluride Yoga Center and the Telluride Yoga Festival, led a workshop at the Yoga Center. The theme was “Freedom Within,” also the subject of Nancy’s first class at the upcoming class at the 10th annual Telluride Yoga Fest. The January class riffed off an idea found in Book II of the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” the original yoga bible. Sutra 16 says this: “The pains that are yet to come, can and are to be avoided.”

How to avoid those pains?

Using the body and breath as tools, “Freedom Within,” Friday, July 21, 10:30– 12:30 p.m., should facilitate greater insight, health, and healing on all levels: physical, physiological, and psychological, relieving pain throughout our systems.

Later that same day, Nancy teaches “Eight Limbs of Yoga,” 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., the core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the eight-fold path offering guidelines for a more meaningful, purposeful life.

The first limb, yama, addresses personal ethical standards and a sense of integrity: ahimsa or nonviolence; satya, truthfulness; asteya, non-stealing; brahmacharya or moderation; and aparigraha or noncovetousness.

The second limb is niyama. It has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances. The five niyamas are saucha or cleanliness; samtosa or contentment; tapas, heat or spiritual austerities; svadhyaya, the study of sacred scriptures and of one’s self; and isvara pranidhana or surrender to the Divine in any form.

The third limb is asana or the postures practiced in yoga, often identified as the whole enchilada.

The fourth limb is pranayama or control of the life force through the breath.

The fifth, sixth and seventh limbs – pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana – addresses deeper and deeper states of concentration and contemplation – leading to the eighth limb, samadhi or a state of bliss or ecstasy.

Any class on the eight limbs puts asana in perspective. Asana, as many in the West believe, is anything but the whole story. Asana does provide tools for self-examination, but a practice is only one of several steps on a path to personal transformation and living with integrity.

Nancy’s final class on Saturday, July 22, 1 – 3 p.m., “Deepen the Forward Extensions & Go Inward,” is all about forward extensions, bowing to the freedom of the hips and the openness of the upper spine to focus the attention inward. Forward bends are calming: discover infinite peace within as you release holding patterns that distract from the present moment.

As the story goes, in 1951 the famous violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin was sitting in his osteopath’s office waiting for his appointment when a small book on yoga caught his attention. He was, according to online sources, already suffering from a variety of the muscular and skeletal aches and pains that have ruined the career of many a budding young string player. Since Menuhin knew nothing about yoga, curious, he opened the book,was immediately fascinated by the contents and wanted to know more.

As well as being one of the greatest violinists of all time, Menuhin was known to be an enormously generous man with global and humanitarian interests. In 1952, Menuhin was invited to India by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister, to give such a series of concerts. He met Nehru for the first time after one of the concerts and mentioned the book about yoga. Nehru immediately dared Menuhin to stand on his head. Much to everyone’s surprise, he did. Nehru then displayed his headstand. The light-hearted incident between these two icons made the headlines all over India. Yoga teachers from every quarter contacted the violin wunderkind to offer guidance. Menuhin took lessons from a number of them, but was not impressed – until he met BKS Iyengar.

Their first five-minute session stretched into three-and-a-half hours. And when Menuhin mentioned he was almost constantly fatigued, never really able to relax, and unable to sleep, in less than one minute, Iyengar allegedly had him snoring gently away for the first time in days. The two men formed a close friendship which lasted until Menuhin’s death 47 years later in 1999.

In his foreword to Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga,” often described as the “Bible of Modern Yoga,” Menuhin said this:

“Yoga, as practiced by Mr. Iyengar… is a technique ideally suited to prevent physical and mental illness and to protect the body generally, developing an inevitable sense of self-reliance and assurance.”

Yoga as practiced by senior Iyengar instructor Nancy Stechert – who first went to India to study with BKS Iyengar in 1983 – is all about aligning body, breath, and awareness to gain greater insights towards health and healing, inside and out.

In other words, what Iyengar taught Menuhin and countless other devoted students like Stechert, who then went on to help others help themselves.

How to avoid pain and experience greater freedom within?

Find out by attending Nancy Stechert’s thoughtful, deeply impactful classes at the Telluride Yoga Festival.

My life was enriched by the work we did last January.

Personally, I look forward to more deep learning.

Now please listen to Nancy Stechert talking about her life and work here:

More about Nancy Stechert:

In 1971, Nancy Crum Stechert first studied Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. She began an asana practice in San Francisco in 1976, making her first trip to India to study with BKS Iyengar in 1983. Stechert continued her studies at the Iyengar Institute in Pune almost yearly until 1990. (Since then, she has returned to India every three years.)

Stechert is founder of the Colorado Iyengar School of Yoga, in Denver, CO., and the International Yoga Center of Tokyo. She has taught at Iyengar centers in San Francisco and New York and served as an assessor for the Iyengar certification process for several years, also on the Iyengar National Board.

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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