leading yoga at conferences

2011 has been an outstanding year with some of my experiences.  I have been extremely fortunate to share my yoga knowledge with folks at a few gatherings (Mamavation Fitcation in Austin, Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Boulder, and EVO Conference in Park City).  And I gotta say, I enjoyed each and every time I got to work with new people away from my usual studios.  Thank you if you were in attendance at any of the events I led this year.  Sharing your time on the mat with me was such an incredible gift.  Thank you.

One of the things I am thinking about is how to deal with sponsors in the future.  Sponsors are very generous and usually when you think of yoga one of the first things people think about are yoga mats.  However, if you regularly practice yoga how many yoga mats do you need?  I myself have a natural rubber Jade Yoga mat I adore and use regularly.  With two of these teaching opportunities sponsors were generous in donating mats with their names and logos on them.    However I never took a mat when I left because they were cumbersome things I did not want to travel with on the plane.  I am also not a fan of practicing on new mats that need to be off-gassed.  Nothing says devotional pose like breathing in chemicals (and most mats do need to be off-gassed).

With one event I was local and had briefly talked to a yoga company to sponsor us with new mats but opted instead to borrow mats and props from a studio I work for.  I was teaching early in the morning and there were no scheduled classes until much later.  In exchange for using the props I made sure the mats were clean and put away in an organized fashion – which helped the studio with routine maintenance.

I really like the approach of using a studios props but wonder how feasible it is to use props from a studio versus bringing in new gear that may not get much use in the future or even taken home by conference attendees?  Those are just my two cents and something I hope others in these teaching situations can consider when planning.

There is a trade-off of having something to give attendees with your logo on it and giving people goods they may not use or that are not ideal (the off-gassing again and mats being pretty cumbersome to travel wth).  Perhaps sponsors can donate a tank top or a mat bag with their logos on them.  Instead of using mats people can simply be on carpet or grass since many non-yoga specific conferences involve a lot of sitting and all you are doing are basic all-level courses to get some alignment and breath flowing.  Personally when I travel I cart along a Prana meditation shawl that does multi-duty as an airplane blanket and yoga blanket when I want to practice but not stay on carpet.

Here is the cart of props I used for a 30-person class

Note that in hotels you do not always get the most ideal space but you make it work.  I make sure to travel with a small portable speaker set with remote control that plays music from my phone.  It helps add instant ambiance.  This is from the awesome group of people who came out to play at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference.

These following images were of a session at EVO Conference sponsored by Apartment Guide in Park City at the Canyons Resort.  They set us up in a nice tent at the base of the slopes.  It was cold in July early in the morning but we got some heat going in our bodies.

The photos are courtesy of Trevor Christensen who was very conscious of being respectful with take pictures while people were in their practice.

I really do hope to do some more of this kind of teaching in 2012 and even yoga conferences.  So far I have only worked as a correspondent from yoga festivals but this is a goal I am working on.  And I am stoked that Wanderlust is coming to CO this year (I covered the California event in ’09).

1 Comment

  1. I’m perpetually awed by how mindful you are, not only of fellow practitioners, but even of sponsors. <3

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