How To “Do” Yoga On The Rocks

I don’t remember how I first heard about Yoga On The Rocks. Maybe my sister, who lives in Denver told me or maybe I read about it in Yoga Journal; that seems like something they would cover.  Regardless, once I learned about the outdoor yoga event, held in the spectacularly beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, it went directly to the top of my ever-growing “Yoga Bucket List.”

Yoga Bucket List (a sampling)
Start a yoga blog ✅
Write a kids yoga book
Attend international yoga retreat ✅
Yoga at Giants Stadium
. . .

The list goes on, but you get the idea. So this was finally my summer for Yoga On The Rocks. The event is just as amazing as Yoga Journal (or my sister) said it was. And, as a public service to all the yogi’s out there, I’m going to offer you my unsolicited advice (my specialty) for having the best Yoga On The Rocks experience.

Unsolicited Advice Starts Here:

Arrive early

The Red Rocks Amphitheater seats 9,525 people; however, to accommodate space for yoga mats, the venue sells out at about 2,000 yogis for this event. You’ll buy your tickets online but if you want to have the best mat placement, plan to arrive at your seats at least 30 minutes before the instruction starts.

Parking is no problem as the venue is designed for far more people than can be ticketed for this yoga event.

Wear layers

Colorado mornings are chilly, even in the summer. Wear warm layers. The venue seating faces east, so once the sun warms you, you won’t need the extra clothes.

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Pack snacks

There are event sponsors in attendance at the top of the amphitheater; however, don’t plan on much in the way of food vending. Caribou Coffee was there with a cart and Silk was there with a yogurt station for the vegans or the really hungry carnivores. Propel was there with water. And randomly, Chipotle was there with chips and guacamole (this just made me sad I couldn’t get a breakfast burrito).

Remember your sun protection

Like I said earlier, the sun hits you from the east, which happens to be the direction you’ll need to face the stage and the instructor, so sunscreen and sunglasses are highly recommended.

Print your ticket

They were’t set up to check your cellphones for your ticket, so print it out so they can scan it with their scanner guns. Also, I’m not sure what the Will Call situation is, but it is removed from the venue by a decent distance and it seems like a major pain to try to go that route if you even can.

Bring your “festival” yoga mat–

The smell of stale beer that hit me as I approached the amphitheater served as a not so gentle reminder that this is a concert venue at 6:30 AM and that just a few hours before I placed my mat in row 50, an inebriated Widespread Panic fan was dancing and spilling his or her drink, food, and who knows what else in the exact same spot. Actually, a few of those fans were still in the parking lot, grilling their breakfast, nursing their hangovers, and gearing up for another show that night. They had breakfast burritos.

The venue has obviously been cleaned since the concert, but still, bring that old mat you haven’t gotten around to recycling yet instead of your brand new Manduka. This can its practice.

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Prepare for instructor du jour

Ironically, yogis can be extremely inflexible when it comes to accepting different teaching styles and philosophies. It is unlikely that you will have received instruction from the instructor teaching at Red Rocks the day you attend as they rotate through the summer. Our practice was lead by Samy Mattei, who is a teacher at The River yoga studio in Denver.

The sequence was an easy 60 minute vinyasa flow appropriate for all levels. There is a big screen showing demo yogis working their way through the practice, so if you need a point of reference, you can look there.

The River yoga studio seems to subscribe to a “you are beautiful” philosophy and I found the fluffy “we are all just really really beautiful and special on the inside” pep talk a bit much. I know I’m not alone in that and I wish that instructors would consider their audience before they roll out the woo woo.

The other thing I noticed was the fact that we didn’t OM anywhere in the practice. I’m not sure if this was an intentional omission or if the instructor just forgot, but if ever there was a time for an OM it would be with 2000 people on a beautiful summer morning in one of the world’s greatest acoustical venues. I feel robbed. I want my OM dammit.

Plan a post-practice hike or picnic

While finding a parking spot is easy enough, traffic leaving the event venue is a little slow. I recommend taking a hike in the stunning red rocks near the vicinity. There are several great hiking trails and loops that start and end right at Red Rocks. So, take a hike rather than sitting in traffic.

Relax and have fun–

Attending this event is incredibly easy. It is essentially hassle-free. And even if you don’t have a great time, the price of entry is only $14. It’s not like you just paid $500 to see Widespread Panic or something.

 

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

 

My Year in the Blogosphere

Sometimes, people ask me if my BLOG makes a lot of money. When I am finished laughing, I explain to them that since launching GroundingUp last year, I’ve published 61 posts, and have had thousands of readers from all over the world (I see you Swaziland). Then, I like to disappoint them with the news that this BLOG has made exactly $0.00.

Fortunately, financial gain was not the founding principle of this BLOG. Yes, there are BLOGs out there designed specifically to generate online advertising revenue or drive a social media following, but this is not that kind of BLOG.

So what is it?

The insurance industry executive in me often demands to know what the business case looks like for this Internet property. It wants to talk about content strategies, click-through, and content marketing plans. That voice wants to know who in the hell is responsible for Quality Control around here and just what our ROI looks like.

And, until recently, I haven’t had an answer.

But, a few weeks ago, I attended a Q&A session with the comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Buried in the typical list of audience-generated questions about Jerry’s creative process was a question about his view on failure. And to this he said,

“So what, you told a joke, it bombed, move on, so what?”–Jerry Seinfeld.

I was immediately struck by two things about this statement.

1–Holy shit, Jerry Seinfeld is a yogi

Jerry Seinfeld is famously aloof. Even before he had “Fuck You” money, he was often considered detached and oblivious to situations around him. And yogis are all about detachment, or aparigraha.

In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty . . . in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.–The Law Of Detachment, The Chopra Center

2–It’s okay to have an aimless BLOG about nothing in particular.

Seinfeld ran for 9 seasons and often received criticism and praise for the simple fact that it wasn’t really about anything. That didn’t make it any less amazing.

It’s extremely difficult to find clear headspace for a creative endeavor when you are frantically trying to nurture a family and a career; where the stakes are so high you can’t risk even a moment of detachment.

But here, it really can just be about creativity, trying something out, and letting people see an authentic version of me–with typos and grammar mistakes. Here, there are no stakes. It’s going to be fine if site traffic is down for the month of July or if I never find a viable way to monetize this content. And maybe, all this will ever be is yet another sketchy corner of the Internet.

To that I say, so what?

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

Studio Review–Indigo Yoga

Last Wednesday, I attended the 9AM class at the Indigo Yoga Studio in Davenport, IA.

I moved away from Iowa long before I began practicing yoga and before yoga had hit Iowa’s radar. So obviously, since I was back in the state visiting the family, I was compelled to check out the local yoga scene.

My primary finding was that the Quad Cities, area could benefit from a little more variety in practice styles. In general, if you wanted a yoga studio experience, Hot Yoga was your only option. Gyms, fitness centers, and the YMCA offered a wider selection but then you are missing the studio environment.

I’m not exactly sure why the studios are primarily hot yoga. Maybe there is something about the business model that I’m missing or maybe it appeals to Iowans during the long cold winter. But I suspect hot yoga was the yoga that got there first and that was that.

Since studio yoga is my thing and hot yoga was my only option, I went to hot yoga at Indigo Yoga.

The Facility

The class I attended was located in their studio at 5161 Utica Ridge Road. Indigo Yoga has several studios throughout the Quad Cities Area and offers massage services in addition to yoga classes.

The Davenport studio I visited was clean and tastefully decorated in a modern and minimalist fashion. I was slightly unsettled by the mirrored front wall in the studio as I’m not accustomed to practicing in a mirrored space. The room most likely was a dance studio before yoga came to town and the studio just kept the mirror.

The room can comfortably accommodate 30 yogis.

I rented a mat from the studio since I was traveling and hadn’t brought mine. The mat selection was a little grim.

The Instructor

My class was taught by Shannon Moran, a co-owner/co-founder of the studio. He is a 200 hour RYT with a background in Ashtanga yoga, but is really great and combining different forms of vinyasa together for a creative practice.