It's been a few weeks now since my first Yoga Journal Conference and I am so excited to share what it was like to experience the event as both a teacher and a student. There were many lessons learned that weekend that I hope to carry with me in my heart for a very long time.
This whole journey started back in February 2012 when announcements for the first ever YJ Conference in San Diego went out. The ad featured a woman in a wetsuit doing Wheel Pose on a Stand Up Paddleboard....typical California, right?! I absolutely needed to be there! So, I reached out to/stalked YJ and kindly asked/gently pleaded that they add our unique "Nautical Flow" SUP Yoga workshop to the offerings. It took a few weeks but finally, they welcomed us into the Conference as the first-ever "SUP Yoga presenters" - teaching not one, but TWO workshops! LESSON LEARNED: Ask and you shall receive.
We spent the next few months prepping our 2 hour workshops and working out all the kinks. A few days before the Conference, with the excitement brewing, our YJ contact informed me that our Saturday workshop had sold-out and the Sunday workshop had just a few spots left - woohoo! Going into the weekend, I felt super proud of all our hard work and just a twinge of "I'm so excited/nervous I'm going to puke!" If you look closely at the picture below, you can see all of these emotions on my face. Here is our team (Kathryn McCann, myself and Gillian Gibree) on Friday, checking into the Conference - so stoked on life!
My Presenters badge - I think I might keep this forever... ;)
Saturday was an amazing day! We had 18 super enthusiastic yogis in the workshop, ready to dive head first into practicing yoga on a stand-up paddle board. Many of the participants came from the East Coast, Midwest and even Alaska (!) where they otherwise wouldn't have this opportunity, so their positive energy and enthusiasm fueled the whole experience. Not to mention, LUNA came through as a sponsor and they provided everyone with awesome goody bags filled with delicious snacks and we gave each participant a "live, laugh, paddle" tank to take home as a memory of their time in San Diego.
The weather was perfect (very little wind, overcast and calm seas) so we were able to do tons of yoga on the boards and give them the full SUP Yoga experience. One woman in the class was from New Jersey and so excited to be there. She paddled over to me and said, "I don't care if I fall in, I'm going to at least attempt a headstand today!" Well, alright! As the end of the class came near, I walked them through getting into a headstand on the board and...SPLASH! There she went! She had a huge smile on her face as she fell in and jumped right back on the board to try again. It was an awesome ice-breaker because then some of the other students felt comfortable trying the riskier poses (like Tree and Wheel) and not taking it all too seriously.
LESSON LEARNED: When we push ourselves out of our comfort zones (me = teaching at YJ Conference and her = headstanding on a board floating on top of water), we provide ourselves with an opportunity to step it up and experience real growth!
Here is an awesome group shot of the class....
- "Every yogi must have a juicer" - Here, he went on a totally random tangent about his love of juicing, but I liked it! Dharma is a goofy old man :)
- "The Chakras are very intelligent - they are like the software of the whole computer body." I've been ignoring my chakra practice over the past few years, so this was a nice reminder for me to remember the energetic level of my own body and that of my students'. There are unseen blockages that we can clear out to make everything flow a little more smoothly, so why not give it a go?!