It feels wonderful to be back in Barcelona after being away for nine months. The city is still as beautiful as ever. Luckily we don't have to brave the throngs of tourists that flock here during the summer because this time around we are staying up in Gracia, where else before we were right in the center in Gothic.
I shall have an update on yoga studios here in Barcelona (especially where one can practice Ashtanga and Rocket yoga) but in this post I want to give a great big shout out to the Barcelona Yoga Conference held from July 3 - 7. Five whole days of yoga, talks, and bonding.
Deciding to go wasn't hard, but paying for all five days (or three days) does cost a pretty penny. I had to really think hard about if it was worth the money or not. So why splurge on a Yoga Conference?
In depth learning
Sure there were some straight up yoga classes where you just go in and do your practice. But there were also many, many workshops and lectures by teachers sharing their knowledge on subjects you'd usually have to pay thousands of dollars in a teacher's training to learn. I really enjoyed the three-day mini lectures by Leslie Kaminoff author of the famous, Yoga Anatomy. Since I have a deep interest in Yoga Therapeutics, those lectures alone were worth the conference fee. But it didn't stop there, there were other great teachers giving lectures on subjects from breathing, to walking, to working your spine. Yummy!
Meeting your favourites
I'm not gonna lie, it was a thrill to meet some 'famous' faces. Well, as famous as a yogi can get I guess. And then going for their class and learning from them directly, that was a lot of fun and really took my practice up a notch. In fact, Rocket Yogi David Kyle from Puerto Rico was there! Obviously I hit that class hard. I do love me some rocket yoga! And who else did I bump into? Instagram famous yogi Carson Clay Calhoun! It was really cool hanging out with someone you follow on Instagram, and then find out that they're just as awesome in real life!
Since yoga has always been a very private practice for me, I don't usually hang out with other yoga practitioners. So it was really nice to meet others who also share the same passion as I do. And yes, most of them are just regular people like you and me - I say this mainly because I'm always afraid that I wont fit into the tie-dye wearing, vegetarian image that seems to be the perception people have about those who do yoga (myself included!). But you know what? Everyone was normal - or as normal as normal is I guess... It was lovely is what I'm trying to say.
Getting to Play
Yoga conferences are a great way to just play with your practice. At the Barcelona Yoga Conference there were a few spots you could go practice Acroyoga and Aeroyoga - especially if you've never tried it before there were many able and willing people there to help you fly. It was the perfect space to play because there are people who are at different levels in their practice willing to assist.
Being tuned in
I found out about workshops, teachers and much more. It seems there is always someone who is more tuned in that you and that was nice - especially since I'm not very 'in the scene' when it comes to yoga. There was also a bunch of store selling yoga wear, crystals, food and the like so yeah, I did a little bit of shopping, but it was nice being able to buy from these sellers rather than just a big store. Some of the yoga wear were really nice!
To be completely honest, I'm not really a kirtan singing, tie-dye wearing, raw food eating type of yoga practitioner. I remember being very uncomfortable standing in the area where they were singing Kirtan. So I went to go eat instead, hah! But that's just me, some people really enjoying these things and to them that is the upside!
So will I go again?
Hell yeah! I must say, it was totally worth it for me. But I did spend a fair amount of time pouring over which sessions I wanted to attend and then planned my schedule accordingly. That really made a difference, instead of just wandering into a class. I wouldn't suggest going to each and every Yoga Conference - but only the ones you feel you could gain some knowledge and skill from. Have fun!