Yoga is often practiced in a studio, but during the summer months, the Vail Valley’s beautiful mountain atmosphere entices locals and visitors to bring their mats outside under the bright Colorado blue sky.
Karen Anderson, yoga studio director and teacher for the Vail Vitality Center, says yoga is a practice to bring us back to our nature state of peace and connectedness.
“Nature has been proven to be healing on all levels,” she explains. “By practicing yoga in nature, we drop our sense of boundary with the world and feel that we are an integral part of our environment.”
Many local studios and programs host open-air yoga classes in the summer. These sessions not only stretch, strengthen and energize the body, but the fresh air and sunshine paired with a friendly and fun atmosphere can be very invigorating to the spirit.
Guests of all levels are invited to practice with certified instructors during the Beaver Creek Outdoor Yoga series. The beautiful scenic back-drop of Beaver Creek Mountain offers the ultimate setting for finding balance and meditative rejuvenation. Classes are held on the Centennial Lawn each Wednesday, June 27 through August 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and are complimentary.
“There’s something special about yoga outdoors,” says Stacie Mesuda, senior communications specialist for Vail and Beaver Creek. “Beaver Creek’s complimentary classes are the perfect mid-week rejuvenation, whether it’s your first class or yoga is part of your weekly routine. Plus, after yoga, you can head down to Creekside Park for complimentary live music during the Concerts by the Creek series.”
The Vail Vitality Center hosts a free outdoor yoga class at The Solaris every Saturday morning in the summer. “It’s a fun community event,” shares Anderson of the gathering, “with the chance to socialize and connect with each other every week, with the shared intention of health and embodiment.”
Anderson says The Vitality Center is glad to be able to facilitate this weekly free offering as a way to give back to the community. “We will wrap up the summer season with an inspiring two-hour practice in honor of World Peace Day,” she shares. “Janet Casson will skillfully lead participants of all levels through 108 sun salutations, dedicated to peace for ourselves, our community and our world.” The Vail Vitality Center’s free Saturday morning outdoor yoga at The Solaris in Vail Village runs June 23 through September 22, from 9 to 10 a.m. vailvitalitycenter.com/yoga/events.
The array of flowers that brightens up Vail in North America’s highest alpine botanical garden also provides a perfect setting for morning yoga.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens serves as an outdoor classroom for families to discover the wonders of the Rocky Mountains, and now it’s also a fresh air yoga space. “The Gardens is a unique and special setting,” explains Lorrie Panfil, operations manager for Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, “which allows participants to connect with the outdoors and themselves in a different way from traditional yoga in a studio.”
The Gardens have really expanded their programming in the past couple of years, especially with the additional of the new Education Center.
“Offering other activities beyond traditional programs such as gardening and workshops allows a different group of individuals who may not find themselves connecting with the Gardens an opportunity to experience and appreciate its beauty,” Panfil says.
The setting is not only beautiful, but to many, it’s sacred. “Many participants have told us that the beauty and tranquility of the Gardens often inspires or reinvigorates their passion and practice,” she shares. “It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful location for a yoga class than our Alpine Plaza.”
This lovely space is surrounded by lush greenery and a waterfall, and it provides the perfect mix of sun and shade. “In the morning it is the perfect place for people to gather their thoughts and connect with nature,” Panfil says. The Gardens also serves as an important biological resource showcasing one of the best collections of alpine plants in the world. The Alpine Gardens provides free access to an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. In the summer, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is not to be missed and can keep children actively engaged in the great outdoors. Programs include a Treasure Hunt, a number of drop-in family activities, volunteer gardening and workshops.
Outdoor yoga at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. from June 11 through September 3. Each session is $15 per person (cash only), and in the Alpine Plaza of the Gardens. No registration is necessary and mats will be available on a first come, first serve basis. A complete list of activities and events is available at www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org.
Everyone is talking about Goat Yoga, or as Vail Stables Owner Kym Luck calls it, GOGA. “It’s a fun, laughter-filled hour of yoga in the beautiful outdoors,” she shares. “The goats love to cuddle, jump, play and entertain, which takes the participants mind off the seriousness of yoga.” For some, the goats are the main attraction, and for others, it’s the combination of doing poses while playing that creates a distinct experience.
“It makes it more accessible to all and everyone feels that the goats are watched more than they are during class,” Luck says. “An older woman exited class this last summer exclaiming it was the greatest thing she has done in the last 30 years.”
Add the season’s quintessential mountain breezes, blue skies and quaking aspen trees, and there’s an unforgettable atmosphere that’s complete with a natural soundtrack. And of course, all the goats.
“We thought GOGA would be fun and slightly popular,” shares Luck. “We had no idea it would go crazy with sold out classes and squeals of delight echoing throughout the stables. Even people there for horseback rides enjoyed the experience vicariously through the participants on site.”
There are two Goat Yoga classes offered at Vail Stables, both on Friday mornings, and more classes may be added throughout the summer. It’s $40 per person to participate, and kids as young as 8 are welcome as long as they can contain some of their glee and remain on their mat. Learn more at vailstables.com.