15 Jul Asia Yoga Conference 2013, Wanchai HK
You can always distinguish western-trained teachers by the playful beat of their sequence. Asians tend to be more structured in the way they lead a class.
Each year the numbers attending AYC gets bigger and bigger, that speaks volumes on how fast the zen virus is spreading in the populace.
Or shall I say, antidote?
Clark emphasizes on breath-work. It was the first class wherein I really felt my inhale and exhales settling me in every pose, even inversions.
Native- Americans have really strong personalities which intimidates a lot of people but which I actually find refreshing. Having lived and travelled exclusively in Asia, Im used to a kind of politeness that has more to do with repression than genuine courtesy. It’s a breath of fresh air to be led by someone who says exactly what is, as is.
That and she’s pretty hot. Damn their genetically inherent voluptuousness.
There were also available classes on Quigong, an ancient Chinese practice on energy or the esoteric body. Surprisingly, it was well attended (not by me) as a lot of my acquaintances were raving about it.
People now are more open to unseen and radical methods of diagnosis and healing, something that Shanon Ganon of Jivamukti Yoga in the AVP of Asia Yoga Conference attributes to the “Divine mother calling all her children back.”
Profound. That is what Chama’s class is if summarized in one word. It’s definitely not for everybody. I must admit I didnt get it much, it asks that the teacher be ready mentally and open spiritually in order to thoroughly sync into his energy asana adjustment techniques.
(Despite my background in Pranic energy healing, I have yet to reach that stage of mastering it enough that I would substitute my hands and tongue for it in guiding a class).
Coleman’s All-American approach in building a sequence broke a lot of myths- that the best teachers should be able to set a sequence, on the spot.
He explains that the difference between raw and experienced teachers is in the planning. An effective yoga class is pre-destined but leaves room for fate to change his mind midway. Kind of like life.
“Create your flow and stick to it even if Iyengar walks into the room!” He tells us.
This is a common dilemma for those who are suddenly met with a curious group of a majority as students on a particular day (too many newbies or too many advance practitioners) that normally throw off a teacher’s sequence into questions of applicability.
A yoga class must have enough alignment based cues you memorize and some space for some playful interjections that will be inspired by the mood of the class, he shares.
Simple. Genius. Couldnt help but ask myself, “Why didnt I figure this out sooner”
Urban Ashram’s superstar import Joan Hymann gets her hands dirty with on-the-spot adjustment tutorial. We were taught how to effectively use props to modify poses but most importantly, how to press our palms right to realign improper posture.
I made sure to attend as much adjustment classes as I can for one reason: I think adjustments define a teacher. You can be the most eloquent guide but if you cant assist a student properly into a pose, youre no better than a DVD class.
In the same lecture, the Indian speaker (pardon that I forgot the name) shared that in a town in India theres a famous place there that stores the “Scrolls of fate.”
If youre chosen, you will be summoned there. The date of your death, your destined role will be laid-out for you to revel on.
I couldnt help but ask “What for?”
“What use is it to anyone to prematurely know about their death and purpose? When we should be present on the process of discovering?”
And I was answered, “There is no use”, the speaker shared , because for him, the marvel is in the mysticism of it all because as a cynic he never believed in anything beyond the reaches of his five senses.
Missed-out on a lot of Pranayams but was seriously disappointed with the first and last I got to attend. The speaker, Dr. Madhavan from India, who Im sure is more than qualified wasted too much time on mindless bickering about the western influence in yoga.
This is one disappointing class, sad to say. We were expecting a lot from a two hour Pranayama (breathing) intensive and yet we were met with lectures and rants about how modern yoga is bastardizing ancient practices. Boo for the speaker. Im sure he is more than capable to blow us away with his knowledge but he used the stage for something less than to educate.
There were a lot of free-shows and complimentary classed in between sessions for those who didnt wanna dish out 2200 HKD ( I think?) for the four day pass.
I wanted to take the Ashtanga LED class but I missed it coz one of the classes I took before-hand extended the hours and it overlapped.
It’s not uncommon for people to cry during a Kirtan class. Kirtan which literally pertains to the path of devotion is a formula for emotional detox that often leads to a tearful outburst for those who have a lot of repressed emotions.
Soulful, soothing and liberating. A must for any practitioner or curious sit-in.
Jivamukti which literally means liberation is a class for warriors. With strong stresses on veganism, sustainable conviction and empowerment, it’s one of those classes I personally take when I feel that I am lacking that kick to get me back on track.
In this particular class, Mari takes it up a notch with modern pop songs as she combines dance and asana to take students to that place of familiar free-spiritedness.
What’s hot in yoga stores this season
Were seeing a lot of classic tight-fitting but easy-breathing Lululemons (as expected) in bold solid colors but what’s been getting a lot of buzz lately are tie-dyes , hand=paints on organic and recycled hand-woven fabric.
For yoga mats and blocks, Jade seems to be a crowd favorite in the conference but there has also been a massive range of acceptance for film-thin foldable mats, straw-mats and other innovative materials.
People are starting to get bored with the common plains of previous collections and are daring to go printed!
Symbols, wild-prints, tie-dyes and bold exotic colors…
even on the tight-skinnes!
Youd think that Nike and Adidas wouldve cashed in the yoga-wear craze by now after Lululemon raked in 3 billion dollars net-worth but surprisingly, you see a lot of independent yoga brands getting bigger instead.
As an emerging yoga wear and supplies company ourseleves as Awaken Athletica, this is indeed good news.
Personally I think its because the cost to come-up with a good collection for yoga costs higher than it does for other sports and the market though bigger than ever is still not as developed as say, running, and gym wear.
Generally, the conference was a tiring education joy to be a part of and seeing as I went for both business (yogawear) and career enhancement (master classes) I’d say it was worth it. But if youre coming in purely for practice and teaching skills enhancements, I wouldnt say the same.
Most classes are introductory, a taste-test. If you hate it, youre happy it ended but if you really got hooked, youd leave feeling half-baked. It’s too long for a boring lecture and too short for intense training.
If you factor in airfare, hotel and conference fee I dont think its worth the splurge but if youre gonna see it as a vacation with shopping on the side, then by all means fly!
For me, unless were gonna exhibit to generate sales for Awaken next year, Id rather enroll in a week long focused intensive workshop instead. That way, I would be sure to see distinct progress in my teaching and practice.
However, if you’ve never gone it is a good experience.