Monday, January 19, 2009

Conferencing&Workshopping: Yoga in SF

I spent pretty much all of Sunday at the  Yoga Journal Conference at the Hyatt Regency down on the Embarcadero. That translated into three two-hour classes—Mysore to start the day, followed by a back-bending workshop and, later, a Vini Yoga workshop—led by a selection of top teachers in their particular branch of yoga expertise. My experience of the event, especially in light of recent study in India, was surreal in its America off-kilterness. First to be practicing Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga in a carpeted hotel conference room under the supervision of David Swenson, Richard Freeman, Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini, all about as senior as you can get in the field. Four of 'em, overseeing practice in warm & sheltered, albeit less-than-'perfect' conditions. The hotel rooms didn't have true walls between them so the sound of the loud, hip-hop soundtrack chosen by the workshop leader in the next room bled through 'silent' practice of we Ashtangis; outside tables overflowed with flyers and pamphlets about the overwhelming amount of yoga classes and teachers and health products available; a yoga 'market' was packed with energy-bar and yoga mat booths and shoppers. And then the surfeit of asana placed in one day. Classes yielded great tools, but contemplative is not the word that comes to this mind for event in and of itself. Nonetheless, the teachers kept their sense of humor, the instruction was excellent and I have plenty to incorporate into my everyday practice ... which I'm very happy to return to, especially since the weekend also brought word of R. SHARATH’S 2009 world tour, which, happily, stops in SF for two weeks.

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