If you think the registration fee for the Yoga Journal Conference is a tad obscene, you can still experience parts of the event for free. I’m not sure how I missed this the first time around when I did my post on the work-exchange program.
I really wanted to go this year since I actually live in SF now but I already had a trip planned with friends and couldn’t take more time off of work. I did find out that one of my former teachers in San Diego was attending and met up with her on Sunday for lunch and a walk around Chinatown. She had just done her last morning session and had the conference program with her. She invited me to attend a panel with her after our lunch and mentioned it was open and free to the public. I was hesitant but she showed me the program and there it was – a few pages in the back of the free events throughout the weekend (or events that were open to the public with a fee), including community classes, guided meditations, film screenings, information sessions, demos, and music. Also in the program was a partnership page featuring local studios. Next to some of the studio names are stars and if you bring the ad to any of those studios, your first class with them is free. Not bad! I ended up attending a panel discussion with Jason Crandell, Baxter Bell, Stephanie Snyder, and Maty Ezraty on the risks of yoga and how we as teachers and practitioners can create a safer environment. Lots of good viewpoints…and it was free.
Outside of the classes and lectures, you are surrounded by the yoga marketplace. This is also free and open to the public. The closest thing I can equate this to is a running expo. There are a ton of vendors and sponsors there selling yoga apparel and accessories, health and beauty products, healthy living and nutrition services, jewelry, and information on yoga studios and retreats. Like expos, there are freebies and samples given away. I limited myself on the food products but did walk away with a mini bottle of Manduka’s Mat Renew – score! I even found a promo code for a yoga exhibit that is coming to the Asian Art Museum in February. Hint: it’s the name of the yoga magazine that puts the conference on – all one word!
So if you can’t afford the month’s salary to attend this conference, there are still a lot of free things that you can do and as I mentioned, still get to experience the conference and the hundreds of yogis walking around barefoot (unless you are practicing, this is actually gross to me). So New York, San Diego, Colorado, and Florida – you guys are up next. If you are broke like me, you have some options!