YJ

I am fortunate enough to have a mother in law who lives in Estes Park and offers her home to me whenever I want to visit. I was even more fortunate to be able to attend Yoga Journal’s conference that was held in Estes Park, last month.

The conference was held at the YMCA of the Rockies, which could not have had more beautiful views. The grounds were gorgeous and spacious.

YMCA of the Rockies

The conference was very well organized and had a great selection of presenters. I would still love to see teachers from all ethnic backgrounds and body sizes represented more, but I did find some teachers that spoke to my heart and felt like I got a lot out of the experience.

I started the conference with Shiva Rea’s half day workshop entitled “Women’s Self-Care for Nourishing, Balancing and Energizing Our Life Force.” I had never taken one of Shiva’s classes before, but everything I have read about her indicated that I needed some of her teachings in my life.

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I got SO much out of this workshop. I received so much information about the solar and lunar shifts in my body and how to honor both of those forces within me, instead of trying to force myself to be one over the other. I learned some beautiful mantras and mudras to get in touch with my body and it’s shifts.

I became much more aware of the suffering I create for myself and was asked the question that I have now being asking myself nearly everyday as a check-in point? What are the self-created stressors that throw me out of balance?

The next workshop I attended was with Judith Hanson Lasater and Lizze Lasater on the Yoga Sutras.

lasaters

The lecture was only an hour long. I have spent much longer than that reading and thinking about the Yoga Sutras and I still know nothing about them.

Judith and Lizze highlighted some of the philosophy and gems of the Sutras. A big takeaway for me was remembering that yoga is not something to inflict upon yourself. Yoga can sometimes feel like a chore or that I “should” be attending certain classes and working on certain poses. And while I always want to grow in my practice, I should not be inflicting yoga upon myself.

Another powerful reminder was that the eight limbs are not a progression; you do not master one and then move on to the next. Thank goodness because I still have not been able to master ahimsa (non-violence), mostly in relation to myself.

After the lecture, I happily followed Judith Hanson Laster to a Restorative workshop.

restorative

Restorative is ALL about letting go.We discussed how important it is to let go in our busy lives and give ourselves the space to unwind and heal. We learned some wonderful self-adjustments to help us get deeper into poses. I learned some great new methods of propping and guiding my students into relaxation,…and then, I can’t tell you too much more because we begin practicing restorative poses and I was ushered into a state of pure bliss.

I started the next morning off with an early, energetic practice with one of my favorites, Kathryn Budig. I have only ever practiced with her on YogaGlo, so it was so amazing to take her class in person.

Her class was titled Unfuckwithable, which may seem odd for a yoga class, but the theme was about setting appropriate boundaries and tapping into a healthy sense and expression of anger

As yogis sometimes, I feel that we may not give validation or an honest acknowledgement to our anger. When we spend our days trying to cultivate light and love, we may have a tendency to excuse someone else’s actions that have disrespected us without holding them accountable.

Personally, I know I have a lot of work to do in this are. Anger is a super uncomfortable emotion for me and I would prefer to jump into sadness or forgiveness rather than admit to myself that I am angry and have to confront the situation.

The practice was vigorous, energetic and a whole lot of fun. Kathryn’s energy is completely infectious and motivating.

budig budig

I was ready to slow myself down and headed over to study Tantric Meditations with Sally Kempton.

kempton We practiced a few different meditations, but one of the best takeaway quotes I have still been thinking about is “allow yourself the space to space out.” This is something I definitely do not do enough of and can feel the effects of a constantly busy mind, instead of allowing myself the space to just BE.

I feel like I am barely starting to understand the importance of this concept and I eagerly ordered one of Kempton’s books when I returned home.

Next, I decided to take a Core Power Yoga with Lara Gobins. I have to honestly say that I was not expecting too much out of this class, other than a high energy pick me, in the middle of the day.

LGLara did in fact deliver that pick me up, but so much more. She sprinkled in some wonderful yogic philosophy and cultivated a beautiful sense of community.

I ended off my conference stay with a Savasana intensive with Lizzie Laster.

We spent two hours discussing, breaking down and working on propping for savasana. And, then we got to spend a great deal of time restoring and healing in one of my favorite poses.

lizzie savasana

The conference was four days long and although I only attended two of those days, I feel like I got so much out of it. It was incredibly well organized and methodical. The logistics were easy to manage and the location was absolutely perfect for a mini getaway to renew, relax and reconnect with the world around me.

elk