Known for its renowned instructors, popular special events and gorgeous sunny skies, Arizona is the ideal destination for any avid yogi—finding the best yoga experiences across the state could be a trip all its own. To guide you on the right path, here are a few of my favorite statewide yoga events, and an inside scoop on my “go-to” studio of choice.

Yoga at the W

Every spring, the W Hotel in Scottsdale sponsors free yoga classes on their pool deck. With perfect weather and lofty views of Old Town, there’s no better yoga experience in town. The classes, part of an eight-week free-flow yoga series held Thursdays from 6-7 pm from April 7th to May 26th, are perfect for yogis of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. And don’t miss out on the vendor booths that surround the event. Two of my good friends are selling awesome summer headbands in different colors and designs.

Best of all, after the sunset class, the hotel offers an extended happy hour from 7-9pm for relaxing and mingling with the group. And if you’re in town on May 26th, be sure to go to the final free-flow session, featuring a fashion show by Lululemon Athletica AZ. I have had it marked on my calendar for months!

Flagstaff Yoga Festival

Set amidst the cool pine forest, the Flagstaff Yoga Festival is a rejuvenating retreat nestled in the mountains of Coconino National Forest. Held from August 2-4 at the gorgeous Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy on the north side of town, the festival grounds open up to some of the most beautiful mountain views I’ve seen in the state.

As an Arizona native living in Phoenix, I never say no to a chance to head to the alpine forests of Flagstaff. The weather is always perfect, and the wonderful perfume of the pines is a real treat. And there’s absolutely nothing better than a nice organic tea while relaxing the middle of nature. This is a yoga event you simply can’t miss.

Sedona Yoga Festival

Sedona yoga- framed.jpgOne of the most popular yoga events in Arizona, The Sedona Yoga Festival requires that you plan in advance to be in Sedona from February 6-10th, 2014. It is a beautiful combination of yoga, meditation, energy healing, music, and more, and is the perfect way to experience the iconic red-rock spires. After you’ve stretched, you can stroll the picturesque downtown area with its eclectic shopping and culinary treats sure to bring you to an even higher level of enlightenment. 

This past February, I was able to attend this festival with some friends and had a marvelous time. The weather was a little colder than expected but felt nice to practice yoga in the cold brisk air. There were also a ton of vendors at the festival, which made it fun to walk around to see all the interesting things to buy. I picked up some mala beads made from white jade with turquoise and labradorite stones. If you practice yoga or meditate regularly, mala beads are often used to help guide you in your meditation practice.

Yoga at The Madison Improvement Club

My favorite place to practice yoga is a trendy new studio in Phoenix called The Madison Improvement Club.  They offer spin and yoga classes, so you are able to get the best of both worlds. The positive environment and top local instructors, including Alex Austin and Harmony Fulton, make it the feel-good spot in town. And the awesome café, called s.e.e.d (sustainable, edible, entirely, delicious), has the most delightful sandwiches, salads, smoothies, breakfast burritos, and flatbreads—plus a great juice bar that lets you customize your own fresh blend of juice.

Born and raised in beautiful Arizona, Heather Peterson has lived in the Phoenix metropolitan area for 23 years.  She loves living in such a wonderful state, where she can enjoy her favorite interests—hiking, yoga, and playing tennis in the great outdoors.