By: Rebecca LaPole
At ARISE, empowering each other, loving ourselves, and uniting as one is omnipresent. This is especially evident in the yoga sanctuary: a glowing white tent with a stage, its own soundtrack, and a mountaintop climb that sets you up with a bird’s eye view of the festival. Each summer, I look forward to breathing and moving together with my fellow festival-goers; a ritual I love to participate in each day.
ARISE has amazing yoga teachers each year from around the world that bring their own style and flow to the event. Scene caught up with Boulder-based yogis Steph Schwartz and Rob Loud who are returning for their third year, and Chicago/Indiana-based Gretchen Fruchey, a veteran instructor looking forward to her second appearance at ARISE
Scene: Tell us about your experience teaching at ARISE.
Steph Schwartz: I LOVE having a venue so close to Boulder. It’s a fantastic way to connect with students I see throughout the week over the weekend and in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. It feels like home away from Boulder, which truly differentiates from other festivals that require more travel time.
Rob Loud: Every year has been an amazing experience and continues to get better. ARISE definitely has a very “home-grown” feel and the music line-up is always incredible. The variety of offerings is what stands out, very diverse from bluegrass, to hip-hop to EDM and anywhere in-between. The yoga game at ARISE is pretty lit too. Some of the best of the best are at ARISE. ARISE goes out of its way to make the yoga portion a priority and it shows! I feel blessed to be a part of ARISE!
Gretchen Fruchey: I am blown away by how fantastic this festival is. It is totally different! We brought four kids with us and despite the size and crazy variety of activities, events, and performers – it felt so organized and comfortable. I love teaching outdoors and the natural vibration and spontaneity that comes with it… I personally don’t think it gets better than teaching yoga in the mountains!
Scene: What is the style of yoga that you will be bringing to ARISE?
Steph Schwartz: My teaching style comes from studies in Ashtanga, creative Vinyasa flow, and Kirtan. I teach a combination of the three in a style called Bhakti flow. This incorporates heart-opening chanting at the beginning, during Savasana, and at the end of the class. It’s a quick way to get present, open our hearts, and feel into the hearts of one another. My flows are usually mandala-style, or circular, to help people get out of their heads and lost in the flow of the moment.
Rob Loud: I describe my style of teaching “embodied power vinyasa” and it is always evolving. I certainly have a “power” background and do appreciate a physical practice, however I pride myself on inclusivity. I aspire to make all my classes “all-levels” so everyone feels included and accomplished. I usually sequence my classes toward a peak pose so an emphasis on particular key actions can be felt during class. My flows are usually spirited, FUN, challenging and bring depth beyond just asana.
Gretchen Fruchey: I have been teaching yoga for 12 years. … My style is evolving still, which I think is pretty awesome. I continue to move through classes indulgently, giving students space to hover, sink, deepen. I place energy high on my intention list – so students will feel things changing, burning, settling, leaving. In the end, they will leave more balanced. … 2017 is all about the Inner Warrior: I am bringing only my 11-year-old daughter this time, and have to admit my desire for her to be strong, confident, brave, and independent is currently a huge inspiration for my teaching. We all need to be reminded of our courage and strength.
Scene: How does the musical component at the ARISE yoga sanctuary influence the practice/flow that you offer?
Steph Schwartz: Bhakti flow fits in SO well with the musical component of ARISE! People show up, ready to chant their hearts out, and they do! I love teaching on Fridays to kick off the weekend in song, music, flow and community.
Rob Loud: The musical accompaniment provided at ARISE is sooooooo good. My class last year with Samuel J was off the hook. The team at ARISE does a fantastic job of pairing teachers with talented musicians who match their style. My class last year was a highlight in my career thus far, Samuel killed it, and the people loved it!
Gretchen Fruchey: Last year I received a magical partnership, truly. I was paired up with DJ Consciousness and he was the perfect co-visionary. Jesse came up with original tracks that deliberately deepened my intention of letting go. He will be hard to beat, honestly but if I don’t get him this year (I will share), I am sure whichever artist performs will also greatly add to the vibe. In every class I attended I was struck by the music. It in itself was yoga; this beautiful sound creature tapping students on the shoulder or bringing them down for relaxation. Completely awesome!