Interview: Yoshi Aono, Founder of Hanuman Festival on Bringing Value to the Yoga Community & More

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We sat down to chat with Yoshi Aono, Founder of Hanuman Festival, about the event's conception, the SEVA aspect of the festival and more.

In it's third year, Hanuman Festival is set to kick off June 13-16, welcoming the musical talents of Trevor Hall and MC Yogi, amongst others, and yoga teachings from Kathryn Budig, Amy Ippoliti, Rod Stryker, Tommy Rosen and many more.

Check out Yoshi's answers below:

YOGANONYMOUS: Hey Yoshi, thanks for taking the time to sit and rap with us. We'd like to start with Hanuman Festival's conception story—where did you come up with the idea for the festival?

Yoshi Aono: Hanuman was conceived amongst a few people in the local Boulder community. It came from a desire to bring the local and national yoga communities together in a professionally organized, high vibration weekend that is accessible to all types of yogis. 

I've learned that there are ideas that float around every day. To take something from a concept into reality requires a set of skills that involve devotion, sacrifice, tenacity and a work ethic that does not let up.

YOGANONYMOUS: For sure, and it's not always easy either. What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered as you went through that process, and what motivated you to keep going?

Yoshi Aono: Some of the biggest challenges happen within the mind. Doubts come up: Does the festival bring value to the yoga community? Is this sustainable? Are we honoring the depth of yogic teachings? In the end, the transformative, joyful experience that is Hanuman Festival motivates.

YOGANONYMOUS: That's a beautiful thing. Speaking of value, can you talk a little bit about the SEVA aspect of Hanuman, what you've done in the past and what initiatives you're taking on this year?

Yoshi Aono: SEVA (selfless service) is dear to us and represents so much of Hanuman. The public has access to FREE inspirational talks by top leaders in the non-profit and service sectors. These opportunities allow attendees to become inspired and educated so they may bring the passion back to their communities.

We have also created a Hanuman SEVA fund which provides funding towards local yoga related initiatives. This year, we are working with the Give Back Yoga Foundation, Wellness Initiative and Angel Organic.

We have also announced a special donation class to benefit Poses for Paws and the Africa Yoga Project. The class grew out of the concept to bring Kathryn Budig's Big Book of Yoga alive.

YOGANONYMOUS: It sounds like you are definitely honoring Hanuman's devotion to service—kudos to you guys. What are you most excited about for this year's event?

Yoshi Aono: I'm excited and grateful that we are in year three. It is an honor to see so many people excited to spend the weekend in Boulder to connect, relax and practice!

For more information about the lineup and to buy tickets, visit Hanuman Festival on the web—and to check out photos from years past and follow the event via social media follow Hanuman Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

Registration closes on Tuesday 12PM MST, so hurry and buy your pass now to reserve your mat space. There are also 3-day, 2-day and 1-day passes and they are gearing up to release single-class passes early—so keep your eye out!


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