Hi there blog followers! It’s been a while since we’ve connected… seems like I’m always saying this :/
Trying to stay more active in the blogsphere, but as always, so MUCH has been going on. April and May are already a blur; I took a trip to my old stomping grounds at Yoga Journal LIVE! in NYC, directly after that, DC Yoga Week and Yoga on the Mall happened, and oh yea, I got engaged! <3 more on the that stuff later. 😉
This post is dedicated to my trip to NYC and to the ridiculously talented teachers that I was able to spend time with. When I got back to extendYoga after my weekend at the conference, a student asked me: “If you could take away one thing from the experience, what would it be?” I didn’t hesitate when I answered:
“[This weekend] was a reminder to always step out of your comfort zone and that there is so much more out there then we are used to or even know about.”
Whenever I sign up for these things, I make it a point to go in a little blind, i.e.: sign up for yoga teachers, classes, workshops and different yoga styles that I am not accustomed to, or even that I have never heard of. Of course, I also take this awesome opportunity to visit my favorite teachers as well, but most of my time is spent trying out the NEW and exciting stuff. This year was no different.
As you read this post, I highly suggest clicking on the links for each of the teachers and browsing. Maybe you follow a few, maybe you come back to it in a couple days; but take 10 minutes to see what’s out there in this big, beautiful, yoga world. You might just find something that you’ve been missing!
I hit the ground running (and nervous) with an advanced heated workshop with Ana Forrest. I knew a little about her and her story and a little about Forrest Yoga, but hadn’t seen anything more that a 5 minute video of her (warning: video is scarrrrrry, a.k.a. amazing).
Needless to say– the next two hours were kick a@% and I mean literally… she kicked our butts. The name of the workshop was “Gravity Surfing;” I think that explains a lot. haha. It was the hardest physical practice I had ever experienced and I was dripping sweat at the end. I also found the pranayama portion of the workshop very challenging as well. She lead some pretty advanced breath work, which had me leaving the workshop feeling energized and clear headed– ready to take on the next challenge! I think it was the perfect way to start my weekend (although I paid for it the next day– holy soreness!).
Next was Dharma Mittra; another teacher that I had heard so much about, but never had the pleasure of learning from. I felt like I knew so much about him and Dharma Yoga through one of my local teacher’s (in DC), Brittanie. He’s this guy:
Oh yeah, and did I mention, he’s 75 years old?!?! What an inspiration. The workshop was challenging for me for a few reasons. First off, it was slow; which I am not used to. We held poses for a long time and he threw in quite a few advanced variations- some that I didn’t know I could actually do! At the same time, Dharma himself is super light and fun, so it made the intensity of the class a little bit more breezy. His sense of humor is totally on my level and listening to him was a great reminder to not take things so seriously– it’s just yoga after all! My favorite part was the 30 minute yoga nidra at the end– heaven! He talked a lot about overall health and diet as well, which was educational and again, inspirational. It’s really great to see what optimal physical and mental health looks like and that it can be maintained (with practice), at any age.
Then we had a quick break for lunch and did some browsing through the Marketplace (a dangerous place where every yoga and health related vendor imaginable has an alluring booth set up with sales of all sorts).
Ran into some familiar faces….
Next was my FAVORITE! I’ve been following this effervescent goddess for a few years now. She never ceases to amaze me. The one, the only… Kathryn Budig. We (at least I do), talk about yoga crushes, but I don’t just have a crush on her, I just love everything she stands for and how real she is. She’s just so approachable and down to earth. Can’t express how much she ROCKS! Not to mention, her equally awesome assistant, Taylor Harkness— who’s creating his own following as well (don’t worry, multiple yoga crushes are OK). It’s beautiful and contagious to see happiness and friendships between people that work and spend so much time together. And those two really have something special… all in the name of yoga too!!! Woot woot!
I don’t even know where to start with the workshop– as always, Kathryn delivered and I ate it all right up. We did lots of fun, juicy hip opening work as well as arm balances, inversion play and of course super creative transitions. The room was filled with smiles from strangers and laughter throughout the workshop. A true judgement free zone. LOVE! <3 <3 <3
OMG- check out this awesome video of Kathryn & Taylor rocking out a happy hour demo at the conference to none other than the original goddess, Beyoncé.
The next day… I accidentally slept through Leslie Kaminoff‘s workshop- whoops! Heard it was great though! I’ll have to catch him next time.
On to Amy Ippoliti. Another new teacher that I knew the least about. I really just heard a couple local teachers (mainly Naomi and Krista) mention her name and that they really liked Amy. So I decided to check it out– and boy was I happy I did?! Amy’s awesome! Talk about real… she’s super friendly, open and laid back. The theme of the workshop really resonated with me: “Shine on You Crazy Diamond: Core Brilliance.” We talked about how to learn to be strong on the inside and soft on the outside. Don’t muscle your way (and strain yourself) though yoga OR life. Diamonds are the strongest gem, that can never be scratched. At the same time, so beautiful and delicate. It’s not enough to be tough, we should also be soft and vulnerable. I love this message.
I loved how Amy gave so many shootouts to other teachers during the workshop too; so humble. That’s pretty cool, right? She also spent time with almost everyone in the workshop– not sure how she managed that because there were probably over 60 people there! I think my favorite part of the workshop had to be when she came over and manhandled me into yogi dandasana pose. Not sure I’ll ever get that one again, but I sure have the memory forever.
My last workshop was with the ever so beautiful, Seane Corn. Saved the best for last???! I’ve been wanting to work with her for a while now, but kept telling myself that she comes to the DC area from time to time and put it off. When it came time to sign up for my courses, it felt right to finally sign up for an afternoon with Seane. Oh. my. gosh. She rocked my world. The workshop was a lot of discussion, followed by some asana and revolved around finding your voice and making magic. Sounds so out there, but it really landed for me. Seane is one of the most well spoken, smart and honest yoginis I’ve encountered. It was really nice to end the weekend with people sharing: their personal journeys, what brought us all together and asking lots of questions. Check out Seane’s outreach work that she’s dedicated so much of her time and practice to: Off the Mat, Into the World.
Oh and I forgot to mention the “evening event” that a few of us extendYogis met at. A fun, yogi style dance-yo-pants-off party with Shiva Rea, Seane Corn and DJ Drez. A portion of the event’s ticket sales went to Shiva and Seane’s individual organizations: Yoga Energy Activism and Off the Mat, Into the World.
At the end of the weekend, I was a.) sore as hell b.) happy as ever and c.) ready to come home and share all my experiences with everyone! But most importantly, I was so grateful and lucky to have put myself in some unfamiliar situations and get out of my comfort zone. There’s so much out there… in the yoga world and beyond! Go for it… and don’t look back!