I had the chance to participate in the Downtown Yoga Festival over the weekend. It was held at the Leonardo Center in Salt Lake City and brought together yoga teachers, both local and from out of state, for two days of yoga classes, workshops, and music. I enjoyed an Energy Flow class with Kimberly Deutsch; a Heart Chakra Vinyasa Yoga with Cynthia Wand and Demi Langford; and Dharma Mittra’s signature Maha Shakti sequence, which was taught by one of his students, Alissa Kepas. There was also some good live music.
Compared to other well-known yoga events like Wanderlust, Yoga Journal Live, and the Hanuman Festival, the Salt Lake City Downtown Yoga Festival is very small and doesn’t attract the rock star teachers of the yoga world. It’s probably not even of the same notoriety as other city yoga fests in the West like Telluride or Sedona. However, the instructors were gifted and passionate about their yoga and they provided a good cross section of yoga styles.
The organizers have been offering a similar event, the Great Salt Lake Yoga Festival at the Salt Lake City Krishna Temple for the past four years. I think that holding this event at the Leonardo may have made it accessible to a somewhat wider audience and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it grow in the coming years to include more of our talented local yoga teachers and maybe even attract some national and international yoga celebrities.
It struck me that the Downtown Yoga Festival is kind of like beginning a yoga practice; it takes a lot of time, energy and dedication before you can look back as see how much you’ve accomplished. You have to look at it as a process and like a personal yoga practice, the experience is its own reward. It may have the potential to grow beyond what we might think possible, but for the time being we have the opportunity to enjoy a local gathering that provides some great yoga experiences with fewer crowds and commercial interests than those you see at the bigger events elsewhere around the country.