On January 15-19, 2015 thousands of yogis from all over the world travelled to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco to deepen their personal practice. “For 18 years, Yoga Journal LIVE! has provided the unique top-notch educational opportunity for yoga practitioners of all levels to experience Yoga Journal Magazine LIVE!” This conference is an opportunity to explore new styles, get inspired, and connect with others practitioners and teachers near and far.
As a long-term yoga practitioner and teacher, I was really looking forward to going to the conference. This was my first time attending so I chose my schedule wisely. Living in the East Bay, I am lucky to have practiced previously with some of these well-known teachers. I carefully chose classes and workshops with those whom I have never studied with before. I was pleasantly surprised to get into all of my first choice classes.
Friday morning I packed some snacks, a notebook and my yoga mat and rode the BART over to the Hyatt Regency for Maty Ezraty’s all day intensive: “How to Read Bodies and Give Hands-On Adjustments.” As people were coming in and putting their mats down, one woman raised her hand and called attention to the warm temperature in the room. Maty and one of the volunteers suggested she move closer to the door. After all, we are in a hotel conference room so it’s difficult to adjust the temperature. Another woman’s hand went up asking Maty to please speak louder or use a microphone. Her suggestion this time was to move to the front of the room. The woman chose not to take her recommendation. I found myself laughing a little bit internally. I thought, why can’t these people be present and adapt to their environment? I then began to notice this as a distraction within myself and quickly realized I had a choice to allow these women to occupy my thoughts or not. I closed my eyes and centered myself, letting go of my expectations as best as I could.
As a yoga teacher I gained so much knowledge from this workshop. Making adjustments in group classes can often times be very tough. It is impossible for a teacher to know someone else’s body as well as they know it themselves. Adjustments are meant to deepen someone’s expression of the pose, protect from injury, or even to find more space for the breath. As I worked with my partner, who also happened to be an instructor, we learned many physical as well as verbal adjustments to bring into our classes. I left feeling much more creative and confident offering adjustments to my students.
Another workshop I was particularly inspired by was Giselle Mari’s “Turn On, Turn In, Tune To Your Frequency.” I am familiar with Giselle as a Jivamukti teacher, but I honestly had no idea what to expect. This one was about tuning into our own vibration. Giselle had us practice a regular Jivamukti series blindfolded. How interesting and very humbling this was! It was a huge reminder to slow down, observe the breath, and do what feels right in the body. I found myself backing off in poses such as triangle, yet going deeper in others. It was quite a beautiful experience that I plan on doing again in my home practice.
Other very inspiring and informative workshops included Jason Crandell’s “Finding Your Voice,” David Swenson’s “Ashtanga’s Greatest Hits,” Tiffany Cruikshank’s “Anatomy of Inversions,” and Annie Carpenter’s twisting intensive. After the weekend I left feeling full, inspired, and completely exhausted.