October 5, 2011

My 2011 Yoga Journal Conference Experience. ~ Roberta Rivera

A rainbow of colorful yoga mats filled the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park.

Women and men clad in tight yoga apparel carrying conference swag bags (filled with coupons and free yoga related stuff) swarmed the Estes Park Lodge. As a second year attendee of the conference I observed some serious yoga, meditation, chanting and philosophy as well as plenty of modern iconic yoga mysticism.

The first day intensive started with Seane Corn, a down to earth person, whose personal life challenges brought her to the yoga mat and prompted her involvement in social issues working with abused children and prostitutes. The next day was yoga and rock climbing (a bucket list item for me) with the YogaSlackers.

The YogaSlackers are a group that teaches acro-yoga (a form of acrobatics and yoga), rock climbing and slack line training (a form of tightrope walking). While the thrill of rock climbing was fun in Rocky Mountain Park, falling and spraining my ankle while participating in a mountain top demo of acro-yoga was far from fun. The YogaSlacker team had to physically support me down the mountain so I would not re-injure the ankle sliding down the very rocky unstable mountainside.

The following day was a bit slower with an injured ankle. I did, however, attend the Saul David Raye presentation. He appeared like a charismatic yoga rock star dressed in a white kurta with his wireless microphone wrapped around his head walking through the packed room of attendees—complete with a musical ensemble choreographing us in yoga moves, meditation, dancing and chanting.

Sally Kempton followed, teaching us how to invoke the female goddesses Kali and Lakshmi for personal peace of mind and guidance. This day ended with Mas Vidal instructing us on how to use yoga and ayurveda for weight loss. Sunday morning was the most unusual day with Snatam Kaur who demonstrated kundalini yoga and chanting accompanied by music.

Although inspiring, the energetic arm pumping and deep pranic breathing left me very light headed and exhausted in the first twenty minutes. I chose to leave this class (along with several others), since my ankle was sore and instead opted for my own meditation outside the lodge sitting in the sun relaxing and waiting for the cafeteria to open for lunch, before leaving on the last day of the conference. Oh, did I forget to mention that the vegetarian meals were delicious? The chef at the lodge created the most delicious vegetarian dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I left with my orange yoga mat and conference swag bag in tow and closed another annual yoga conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Will I be back next year? Maybe, or I might just spend the entire weekend just sitting and meditating in the sun enjoying the quiet stillness invoking Kali and Lakshmi. Shanti to all.


Roberta Rivera lives in Colorado with her yogi husband and two little rescue Shih Tzu’s, Buddy and Frisky Boots. She has an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing Strategy from Regis University and is currently redesigning her life and career. She fills her time with cooking vegan and raw food dishes, yoga, NIA, Zumba, weekend bike riding and loves living in Colorado. You can contact her at [email protected]

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