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Category Archives: Reflections
From another participant (reblogged):
CARIBBEAN YOGA CONFERENCE JAMAICA
February 8, 2013
Carribean Yoga Conference 2013: Montego Bay Jamaica
What can I say, of course, Jamaica was wonderful! Yogi’s, an amazing country of friendly, hospitable people, sunshine, sand, and the beautiful Caribbean water. Yogi’s, you must consider this conference for yourself next year, especially if you live in a place that has a cold winter. It is inspiring, warm, and abundant with amazing experiences to set you soul on fire!
I feel blessed and gracious to have been able to partake in this amazing event as I take a break from winter. Thank you to Kimberly Allardyce for her vision and support of the conference, I look forward to many more years to come at CYC!
Lodging: Hilton RoseHall Resort is a sublime location for the conference. The All-inclusive program was perfect as we bounced from sessions to the marketplace, maybe a quick break on a beach chair, and back again. I never left the property for 6 days and had more than what I needed to be comfortable.
The waterpark made me feel like a kid again as my new yogi friends and I piled onto innertubes to take a ride down the slide, grab drinks at the swim up bar, and then float the lazy river. The property also provides beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas, so whether you want sandy beach or cool by the pool, there are plenty of places to relax. Full bar and food service is also available.
The rooms were very nice and I had an amazing view of the ocean. Click here for theGALLERY. Comfortable beds, updated decor, and great service made it the perfect place to settle in. My only complaint was having to pay for internet access in the room.
Service was WONDERFUL! The Jamaican people are so lovely, friendly, and hospitable. I appreciate how much they love their country and how much they want you to love it! I look forward to exploring more off property next year and learning more about this beautiful place.
Transportation: Reserve a spot on the Jamaican Tour Bus ahead of time for airport transportation. $25 round trip takes cares of pick up and drop off. Take their advice on getting picked up early for the return trip. The aiport security line can be lenghty. If you are near Gate 1, I recommend Margaritaville for a place to hang while you wait, a nice, festive spot to maintain the vacation vibe.
Let’s talk YOGA!
The first session, Spiritually Fly with Faith Hunter was the perfect class to start the conference. Focusing on the root chakra, the muladhara, through the asana we created a strong foundation grounded in mother earth for which to then expand from. Faith’s great sense of humor mixed with challenging vinyasa left me feeling strong and connected to this practice.
MC Yogi, Amanda G, and DJ Drez were a powerful three pack in the second session with a focus on love. Amanda started with discussing the moksha or liberation achieved in yoga that is the freedom from illusion that we are all separate. Once we realize that we are all indeed connected, the heart expands to be filled with love and compassion. If the center of the wheel is love, the ride is smooth. “Yogi revolution, Love is the solution.” MC Yogi said again and again, love is the only guarenteed way to freedom/moksha. He went on to tell a story by one of the members of the Grateful Dead, who said that he practiced yoga because then he was more tolerable to be around. And that yoga is the most selfless thing you can do for anyone around you. “It’s not about who can sit the longest, or put their foot behind their head, it’s about who has the most compassion, THAT is the person who wins the race…”
After lunch and a brief lounge by the ocean, I headed over to Elena Brower’s Restore and Reset class. A fusion of Kundalini, Vinyasa, meditation, and an incredibly relaxing savasana, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day of yoga. This class was nothing like I have experienced before and I hope that this style makes it’s way out into the world, it’s truly a blend of something special and with Elena to deliver it, you receive a grace and eligance like no other.
Not thinking day one could be topped, day two started with Kia Miller’s Anahata Kundalini Kriya. The class was…hard, yes, it was just downright hard for some postures, but Kia’s lovliness turned the practice into such fun that we didn’t even care that some of the poses were quite challenging. The class focused on Anahata, the heart Chakra, where heaven and earth meet. The practice is designed to stimulate one’s Kundalini, the energy of our potential. I love this practice, I love the dance, I love the intesity that the chanting and meditation gives. Truly a game changer when it comes to personal transformation.
Session two was again with Elena Brower focusing on the Art of Attention. I will admit, I did not know if I had the endurance for this class after Kia’s, but I am so glad I pushed through it as this was the most intensely Zen savasana I have had in a long time. “This prayer has no beginning and no ending..” was our mantra from Elena, once again creating a new fusion of yoga that will change the practice, bringing the best of many worlds into a highly transformative offering.
The end of the day was beautifully rounded out by John de Kadt and the story of the Firebird. He says, Mystical tales are like dreams, where WE are everything in the dream. As John played the drum and Dave Stringer played along to the unfolding tale, I felt like a kid again, listening with a curiosity and delight that I haven’t felt in a really long time. Mystical tales do exist…we just have to sit quietly and listen for them.
Saturday evening…how do I even articluate how fantasically awesome the concert was with MC Yogi, Amanda G, and DJ Drez? On the beach, dancing bare foot in the sand, the sounds of these amazing artists. One of the best perofrmaces I have ever seen as this music touches a yogi’s soul deep to the core and allows you to fall in love with the practice all over again. Namaste to all of you for making a memory I will cherish always.
Sunday morning closed the conference with another beautiful kirtan by Dave Stringer and chakra balancing meditation. I decided to take my meditation that morning poolside vs. in the yoga tent. The sounds of the group floated through the sea breeze as I sat in silence, I became even more grounded in a sense of peace and clarity that I was truly in the right place, doing the right work, and engaging in a practice full of so much possibility!
Mark you calendar for CYC 2014 and give yourself the gift of friendship, the gift of transformation, the gift of yoga.
Namaste and Sat Nam,
Many of you who know me in person already know that I help out with the Caribbean Yoga Conference, now in its second year and held in Jamaica. I coordinate the volunteers for this event and I should have posted a link much sooner so maybe some of you could join me for this incredible experience.
Jamaica’s an easy flight from New York or Philadelphia, and it’s a great way to travel worlds away in three hours. My experience traveling in Jamaica was very positive, although it’s much rougher than Pennsylvania and many of the areas around Montego Bay, where the conference is held were disappointingly polluted, with litter clogging roadsides.
But the island is still a paradise and – when it’s below freezing at home – how can you beat bright, sunny tropical days? I spent a lot of time on the beach and in the water, trying to soak up all the sun, salt, and sand I could before coming back to snow and ice. I got to see a shooting star over the ocean and heard some world class drummers around a beach bonfire.
More than that, the Caribbean Yoga Conference gave an opportunity to practice some yoga with excellent faculty in heavenly venues. Seeing palm trees and brilliant blue sky upside down from inversions was so different from my studio practice and a welcome treat.
Please let me know if you want more information about the conference and stay tuned for 2014. Namaste.
One of my yoga teachers was talking to me a while ago and she said, “when you need a rest, take a rest.” I think that it’s really difficult to allow yourself time to rest, especially with the demands of work pulling you towards your desk. There is an idea that you need to be ON all the time, at least in the professional world of an MBA student, but sometimes you need to set everything aside and take a rest.
Resting can be active, like taking a walk, or peaceful, like sitting quietly and doing some breathing exercises. I like to use resting time to think about things I’m grateful for and to use affirmations like, “I will feel refreshed when I get up from this rest.” I usually set a timer with a gentle sound to let me know when it’s time to stop resting and get back to work. It’s really refreshing to give yourself the gift of resting when you need it.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. -e e cummings
I am listening to Queens of the Stone Age (I know, not very yoga, but I like them). and the lyrics is “Keep saying, you won’t live forever.” Couple with the cummings quote, let’s think about the destination of your life and the epic challenge that knowing you won’t live forever presents. [Let’s set reincarnation aside for now, because I think it is helpful to assume this is the only life you have. It should make you try to wring every drop out of the present. If you assume you have other lives to make up for what you do here or to reach your full potential, I think you might not try as hard.]
So the question is – what makes your heart sing? What is it that fulfills you? What is the bigger calling in your life and how can you embrace your own mission?
These are the questions that I am thinking deeply about lately and I hope I find the courage to grow up and become who I really am.
I am working on a survey to conduct local market research about trends in the yoga community here. I am crafting questions about times for classes and demographics of students and trying to explore what other offerings our community would support. Is there an interest for yoga with kids or yoga in nursing homes or yoga late at night for students? What ages of kids yoga would parents be interested in and what times typically work for families?
As I am creating this survey, I am learning some things. Both about the ways to ask the questions and the tons of technology out there (for free) that allow you to conduct market research. I don’t have a plan yet for distributing my survey (round 1 will be to immediate acquaintances, round 2 to a broader list, round 3 to facebook?), but I am really interested in seeing the return rate and the answers that come from asking questions.
So now I’m asking you – have you used surveys to research your business (whether it’s yoga or something else)? How have you found them to be effective?
Besides logistical questions, I am also interested in people’s answers to the question – what is most important to you about your yoga practice? Will more people be focused on the workout or will they rate spiritual connection higher? I plan to aggregate and analyze the results and I will get back to you.
Here is my survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MSFQ5TF
Please take a moment to fill it out so I can see how this works!
I understand that yoga is a moving meditation, but I am interested in what exactly meditation is. I know there are tons of books written on the subject and I have a lot of homework to do, so I want to be clear that this post is looking from the foot of the mountain. I have only just started on this journey.
When I meditate, I seem to find that there is a stillness and an emptiness that comes when you begin to quiet your thoughts. Admittedly, this isn’t easy, but it also isn’t very hard. As your thoughts wander, you just focus again on whatever you set to meditate on – your breath, your mantra, the guidance given if it is guided – and you kindly direct your focus back. Eventually you stop wandering so frequently or so far afield.
Clearing your mind when you work through asanas seems more difficult to me. I think perhaps the key and common link between the two is focusing on your breath and graciously directing your attention back to inhaling and exhaling throughout your practice. And again there is a paradox of it being both simple and hard. What could be more simple than stretching your body and breathing and what could be more difficult that staying present, in every moment as you do it?