September 28, 2011

Yoga Journal Conference 2011: Estes Park. ~ Laura Hobbs

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a drive up to Estes Park last Saturday.

Waylon and I were on our way to the Yoga Journal Conference, my little car zipping and winding through the curves of Highway 36.  We made it to the conference just in time for the 10:30 class session, despite a brief delay due to a roadside  tree-chillin’ bear bringing traffic to a standstill.

We fretted over the class choices because there were too many good ones to pass up, but we ultimately decided on Richard Freeman‘s Introduction to Pranayama.  Being a vinyasa girl myself, I was apprehensive about spending two hours alternating my nostrils and squeezing the life out of my mulabandah.  Lucky for me, I was in good hands in Richard Freeman’s infinite-yet-approachable wisdom.  We played with riding the wave of our breath, controlling the flow of air with various forms and techniques, and even flung our arms up for hanging monkey’s breath.  I had a few blissful moments that I’ll credit to oxygen deprivation, especially for this southern girl teetering at 7,500 feet.  I never thought I could breathe so many different ways; we left the class enlightened, aware of our breath and aware that it was time for lunch.

We dined outside with friends and colleagues, chatting about the classes we’d taken, the beautiful weather and various (and top-secret) business ideas and pitches.  After lunch and a brief Shiva Rea encounter in the parking lot (!!!) , we made our way to the expo hall to check out the goods and check in with friends.  We meandered our way through the hall, stopping every five feet to say hello to an acquaintance, elephant friend, or business contact.  What’s noticeable about the expo at Yoga Journal conferences is the lack of waste — no plastic bags, no wasteful giveaways, not even bottled water.  Yoga Journal makes an effort to keep their expos as environmentally-friendly as possible, and of course, we at elephant appreciate that.

For a full report of the products that we reviewed, click here.

Waylon and I made it through a few rounds of the expo, then went next door to check out Seane Corn‘s afternoon class titled “Yoga for Broken Hearts”.  We both snickered to ourselves, thinking that it would be a class full of recently-dumped saps who needed to cry it out on the mat, but what the heck?  It would be something that neither one of us had experienced, and we could offer some apathetic support to those in need.  Boy, were we wrong and unprepared.  The class wasn’t just about broken hearts, but rather dealing with grief — and how we express — and repress — the complex emotion.  The majority of the class was a Satsang, or a discussion, on grief we’ve experienced in our lives.  After the tear-jerking talk, we got on our mats and mindfully moved through several rounds of sun salutations, dedicating our movements to those we have lost.  Most of us left the class feeling mentally exhausted, but also with a sense of relief.

After Seane’s class, we said our goodbyes to our friends — some new, some old — and drove back down the mountain to Boulder.  A beautiful, enlightening day in Estes Park, surrounded by yogis and fresh mountain air?  I’ll have another, please.


Laura Hobbs: Yogini, cook, wife, writer, blogger, dog lover, cheese fanatic, gardener, wino, travel addict and occasional grumpy pants who lives in aria-inspiring Boulder, Colorado. She’s an intern at elephantjournal.com and the Ambassador and social media guru for Yoga Pod. She’s flattered you read this far.


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