After a rough trail run or a day spent in an office cubicle, returning to a yoga mat just feels right. You know the benefits: Yoga increases flexibility, supplements physical fitness, and is a stress reliever—which are reasons why 20.4 million people in the U.S. are practicing yoga, according to the 2012 Yoga in America study released  by Yoga Journal .
Add those hip-opening, back-bending, and heart-bowing poses to live music and inspirational talks, and you’ve got the Hanuman Festival —a weekend of mega wellness in the Boulder foothills this weekend. The festival took root in 2011, and in just two years has grown from 3,600 to 5,800 yogis—and it’s easy to see why. “Yoga is a great vehicle because people live stressed out lives,” says Yoshi Aono, Hanuman Festival’s managing director. “The benefit of yoga is that it allows people to center themselves, relax, and rejuvenate.”
The act of centering goes beyond Downward Dog. In addition to yoga classes with iconic instructors such as Rod Stryker  and Richard Freeman , there are presentations from inspirational speakers—including Matthew Sanford,  a nationally recognized yoga teacher who is paralyzed from the chest down—and performances from musicians like Trevor Hall . And according to Aono, the event’s major takeaway is community revival: “Sometimes people feel isolated, and this is a great place to come and be with a very strong and well grounded community. It is a very positive, uplifting event,” says Aono. 1604 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, hanumanfestival.com 
Bonus: The festival’s Vendor Village —a roundup of yoga-and-health related companies and natural food providers—includes a lineup of presentations for the public (don’t miss Hall’s acoustic set on Saturday) at no cost.
—Image courtesy of Carl Kerridge