Yoga Journal LIVE! in San Francisco this Weekend

Hey broke-ass yogis!  Yoga Journal LIVE! (when did they stop referring to it as the conference??) is THIS weekend in SF and I’ll be attending!  I won these tickets through a silent auction where I was the only bidder so got a weekend pass for only $125 – pretty sweet score. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for at least SIX HOURS of yoga both Saturday and Sunday but I’m super excited to be taking classes from some amazing teachers such as Kathryn Budig, Jason Crandell, Maty Ezraty, and of course Annie Carpenter.

As I’ve mentioned, you can be a part of the event for free!  Here are some of the highlights that caught my eye that will be held in the Sangha Space (I’m listing stuff that interests me but if you want to check out the full schedule in that space, click here):

1. Life in Balance Lecture Series – An Evening with Innovators to Discuss How Yoga is Shaping Modern Society.  Panelists Congressman Tim Ryan, Beryl Bender Birch, and Gopi Kallayil will talk about the impacts of yoga on public policy, health care, and technology.  Open Q&A to follow.  This event is not free but open to the public and tickets aren’t too pricey – $20 advance purchase and $30 at the door.

2. Kid’s Yoga.  For those that have little kids, it’s never too early to get them started! Two options to pick from during the weekend.

3. Community Class with Laura Burkhart.  FREE 1 hour class with an SF-based teacher who conducts philanthropic work through her company and teaches at YogaWorks and Yoga Tree.

4. Bhakti Flow: Devotion in Motion with Rusty Wells.  I’ve heard so many amazing things about Rusty, most recently from colleagues, and I used to take classes from a former students, who was amazing!  I will definitely be taking class!

5. Anatomy Q&A: Troubleshoot Your Pose with Harvey M. Deutch, PT.  I am super bummed this conflicts with the Rusty Wells class, otherwise, I would totally be in this class.

Hopefully you are able to take advantage of some of the offerings.  And don’t forget to check out the Yoga Marketplace where there might be some freebies!

Yoga Journal Conference in San Diego THIS WEEKEND!

For the yogis in San Diego, the Yoga Journal Conference is happening right now.  If you are in my shoes, this conference doesn’t really fit into your budget.  But you can still experience this event since there are a lot of freebies.  As I discovered when the Yoga Journal Conference was in San Francisco, Yoga Journal has a Marketplace and Sangha Space that is free and open to the public.  The Marketplace is full of retailers and many of them give out samples of their products (I tried a lot of drinks and got a small bottle of mat cleaner from Manduka).  The Sangha Space offers free community classes, demos, and meditation.  There is a free class there this afternoon with one of my favorite teachers when I was living in San Diego – Emily Desmond – so take her class at 1:30 pm if you happen to catch this early enough. On Sunday, they are even offering a yoga class in Spanish.  Just because you are not actually taking classes with some of the more well known yogis doesn’t mean you can’t experience the event.  Enjoy!

Update: This broke-ass tip came from an awesome friend of mine – parking at the Sheraton parking lot is $15 (bleh) but parking at the Spanish Landing around the corner is FREE for 4 hours!  Coming from a city where you have to pay for parking everywhere you go, this is heavenly.  Thanks Lenise!

Breaking the Hiatus

Namaste broke ass readers!  Seriously, where did the time go?  I knew it had been awhile since my last post but I didn’t realize it had been two months!

There has been some activity relevant to the blog but not a whole lot, which also explains the brief hiatus.  I’ve reluctantly let wedding planning and work take over my life.  I spend a lot of extra energy complaining about the cost and debating the necessity of this wedding all the time, as my fiance can attest to, so it’s definitely not the most enjoyable process for me.  I just have to CONSTANTLY remind myself that it’s not all about me and that day of the wedding, it will be amazing to have all my friends and family in the same place celebrating with me because that is what it should be all about.

So with all this craziness, my fitness world has been put on hold.  I also think I have a torn meniscus which is preventing me from running and I took some time off from yoga as well.  When I was starting to feel better I went back to the studio that Annie Carpenter teaches at and signed up for another 10-class pack.  I managed to use the majority of class package with her so I’m pretty happy with my purchase and hopefully can do the same even though it seems like she has a pretty busy travel schedule at the moment.  I figured since this is the only studio/membership I’m paying for that it was justified.  I’m certainly getting my money’s worth – getting my own personal practice in and learning a lot for my own teaching purposes.

I am considering one of the online yoga sites for membership which will hopefully allow me to get more of my practice in when it’s convenient for me.  I’ve explored and re-explored some of the sites to figure out which ones I like most and where I should invest my hard earned dollars (although let’s be real, they are only monthly memberships – I can cancel at any time).  There are a lot of great online classes out there and a couple nights ago I was barely able to get into kapotasana (pictured below) thanks to a class.  And I never ever thought I would be able to get my forearms on the ground.  Anyhow, I’ve narrowed it down to MyYogaWorks and Yogis Anonymous.  I love the YogaWorks method and how it’s very alignment based.  I know what to expect from all the instructors and that’s nice.  For Yogisanonymous, I’ve just really enjoyed my trial run and have taken classes that just jive with me.  I’ll probably do the latter since I’ve had around 4 months with YogaWorks already.

First time ever getting my forearms down

First time ever getting my forearms down!

Oooohhh, and one other related yoga topic – I freaking won a weekend pass to the Yoga Journal Conference in SF next year!!  As a perk of working in the nonprofit world, you get to work at or attend special events/galas.  I attended one last month where they had a silent auction.  I walked around to check out at all the goodies up for auction and the bids people were placing on them.  Then I saw one of the auction items – it was the weekend pass to the Yoga Journal Conference and no one had bid on it.  It was about five minutes before the silent auction closed and I had to quickly decide what I wanted to do.  The minimum bid was $125.  I had planned to do the work-trade option next year but remembered that you had to put out $200 initially to do that and then would be reimbursed $100 if I did a satisfactory job.  For $25 more, I can participate without doing any of the work!  I actually would love to be a part of the behind-the-scenes action but for my first year, this sounded great.  So I put my minimum bid down and then hovered over the area until they ended the auction.  Needless to say, I was pretty stoked!  Deals can be found where you least expect it so always be on the lookout!

Freebies at the Yoga Journal Conference


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!

Discount at YJ Conference in San Francisco

YJ Conference Deal

Cyber Monday deal with Yoga Journal!  If you have been going back and forth on whether or not you want to go to the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco January 16-20, here’s a deal that might help.  Valid today and tomorrow, you can save $75 off a weekend 6-class pass or the full four day weekend.  Register with promo code NEWYEAR.  This conference is pretty pricey and if you are able to set aside five days, you can sign up for the work exchange program (do it soon!) and participate for $100.  Just some options.

To Wanderlust or Not to Wanderlust…And How You Can Participate at a Fraction of the Cost

Wanderlust Tahoe

This year, the Wanderlust Festival in Tahoe/Squaw Valley starts on my birthday and I thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate.  Four full days of yoga with some of the most well known yogis during the day and music to fill your evenings.  A friend of mine went to the Wanderlust Festival in Oahu and raved about it.  She also mentioned her boyfriend had access to a cabin in Tahoe that we could use at no cost for this festival.  I assumed with lodging taken care of, this would make the festival a bit more financially accessible.  So I went onto the site and checked out ticket prices and financial accessibility went out the door.  4-day passes are $475 and 3-day passes are $395!  If you did the full four days and had to pay for travel/lodging/food, this festival would cost close to $1,000.  Who are they targeting to attend this festival??  Clearly, not unemployed people like me.  Even when I was working, this would have been difficult to manage.

Earlier this year, I wanted to attend the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco and tickets were EXPENSIVE.  I don’t remember the exact cost when I looked late last year (close to $1,000 is what I’m coming up with), but early bird prices for the 2014 conference is $600.  Add lodging, travel, and food to that and well, you know what I’m getting at.

There is a way to participate in these yoga getaways for a fraction of the registration cost.  As with many conferences and events of this scale, there are typically volunteer or work-exchange opportunities, which I have done in the past but for work-related events.  Both Wanderlust and Yoga Journal Conference have these volunteer/work-exchange opportunities.

For Wanderlust, they look for volunteers to fill a minimum of three shifts starting the weekend prior to the event to the Monday after.  Shifts are 5-6 hours each and you are given one day off where you can schedule classes like everyone else.  You also have access to all the music events as well as some swag from the sponsors.  There is an application fee of $15.  Check out Wanderlust’s volunteer page for more information.

For the Yoga Journal Conference, you will need to be available for a full FIVE days without any other commitments.  You work up to 16 hours, with many of the shifts being a door monitor, and are not guaranteed any classes.  Here’s the part I don’t like.  You have to pay them a “nominal” fee of $200 as a commitment to work the conference.  You will be rated on your performance and if you meet their standards, you will get $100 back a month later.  So you are still out $100 in addition to all the other expenses you might incur.  Check out Horizon Conference’s info page for more details about YJ’s Work Exchange Program (they manage YJ’s conferences).

If you are interested, sign up early!  For both of these opportunities, I see it as a way to get a feel for the festival and the inner workings of these large events, network with others in the yoga community, and the bonus are the workshops and the classes.  I most likely won’t go this route for Wanderlust if I somehow magically come up with the funds (birthday present, anyone?) but I’m thinking about it for the YJ Conference in SF in 2014 since I’ll be living up there.