Monday, May 23, 2011

Midwest Yoga Conference

Wow. That's all I have to say. I just got back last night from the Midwest Yoga Conference and it was so much more than I had imagined. I learned so many things that in themselves will become individual blog topics, but just wanted to take a moment to give a quick overview of the conference as a whole.

It started when my Yoga Teacher Training teacher, Jonny Kest, offered complimentary tickets to our entire class. Being somewhat new to the yoga community, I admit I had to research some of the names that others already viewed as Rock Stars. Once I got a glimpse of their immense wisdom and track records, I knew this was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up.

As the weekend drew nearer, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Will it be 6 hours of intense sweaty yoga each day (and if it was, could I survive it?!?!)? Will it be mainly lectures? Will I feel out of place? Will everyone be pretzel-like except me? There was some comfort in the fact other students from my class were going - so at least I wouldn't be completely alone. But it was still pretty nerve-wracking (especially not knowing what to pack!).

We drove the 5 hours to the conference with both fear and excitement. But the fear was unfounded. During the conference, there was a mixture of pretzels and rods, of physical and mental, of inspiration and perspiration. The energy was infectious. The thing about yoga is it is all-accepting. And I have never before experienced what non-judgement feels like in such a large group. All body types, all knowledge levels, all different personalities coming together to learn from each other and accept each other as-is. The teachers were not only approachable, but seemed to want to learn from us as well. There were no egos, just gratitude so thick it was palpable.

The largest lesson I learned (which is saying a lot since I learned so much) is that it IS possible to live a yoga life in the real world. These people were not just putting on their good behavior for the conference, they truly were that happy and non-judgmental and egoless. In a world where we define our worth based on possessions, people at this conference had broken through the societal teachings to value each other's spirit instead of their size of their house. Can you even imagine living that way? Pick up lines in a bar would shift from "what kind of car do you drive?" to "who have you hugged lately?" - lol! It is so ingrained in our brain to base our impressions on external criteria that walking into this mini-world where people viewed you as valuable just for being you was really....different. In a good way.

Feeling this complete acceptance and meeting so many wonderful amazing people has cemented in my mind that I truly am exactly where I am supposed to be.

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