The summer is almost over and right around the corner is the South East Yoga Conference, formerly known as the Atlanta Yoga Conference. Just as the yoga community has grown, so has the conference, hence the the name change. This year the conference will be held at the W Buckhead. Yogis and teachers traveling from near and far will be in attendance.
I moved here from Seattle in 2005. One of first things that I did was investigate my new community to find out where all the yogis were hiding. Coming from Seattle, I just assumed that there would be a ton of yoga like back home: yoga studios dotted in between coffee shops. (I only slightly exagerate). There definitely was yoga, but very spread out. Today studios all over metro Atlanta are hosting workshops, and city is becoming a regular stop for master teachers from all over. Its amazing! There are yoga studios sprouting up everywhere, as well as teacher training programs. Yoga is taught not only in yoga studios, but cropping up in gyms, dance studios, schools, and the work-place, just as Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda predicted would happen. This year I had the opportunity to teach yoga to the Marietta Highschool Football team as part of their weekly strength and conditioning program. It was such a great experience for me and I’m hoping for them. Besides the obvious benefits of having looser hamstrings and learning how to de-stress, how great is it that yoga is being made available to our youth?
Now with the growth around yoga studios, it’s time to bridge the gap. That’s where the SE Yoga Conference comes in… Nicole Jurovics and Melissa Katz, also local yoga teachers, have made a commitment to the this effort. They are the directors of the conference and key patrons of the yoga community. Their vision is to make yoga accessible to all and to bring more awareness to yoga. Behind the scenes, these ladies work year-round building up the yearly conference and when it’s over, they relentlessly begin again. They humbly and quietly bow out of being ‘seen’ during the conference and make the main focus of highlighting national, regional, and local teachers, as well as local studios. Be sure to say hello to these lovely ladies at the conference and express your gratitude for working their asanas off to make the community feel like one big family.
As I mentioned earlier, the conference has grown and is now hosted by the W, Downtown. There is an awesome line up of teachers who are presenting a variety of topics, (I’m honored to be presenting!). If your focus is on yoga philosophy or you are working on contortions for the upcoming Cirque Du Soleil, the conference presenters won’t disappoint. 🙂
The marketplace will be the go-to place between classes and an exciting event to not miss is the Kick-Off party… catered by the W, music, and a chance to schmooze with your fellow yogis. (A great opportunity for us yogis to wear something other than spandex and we all get to see each other wearing shoes!).
If you are on the fence about going to the conference, here are some things to consider:
1. Check out what your yoga community has to offer.
2. If you’ve never taken a special theme workshop with a yoga ‘expert’, you have the opportunity in your backyard.
3. Support your community!! I know we tend to park our practice at our studios that we cherish, but go check out what else is happening. Us teachers who have home studios won’t care if you take yoga field trips. We just want everyone to practice yoga!
4. For no other reason, it’s going to be a great time to hang out with like-minded yogis who are interested in spreading the message of yoga. This will be one of the few opportunities outside of our day-to-day routines to nerd out on yoga-talk. (My personal fav)!
Hope to see you at this year’s conference, or better yet in the class I will be leading.
Om shanti, om peace! Jai!