EVOLUTION

EVOLUTION… what better name could you chose for a Yoga Conference!!! Every year people from all over Asia meet in Hong Kong to learn from the best Yoga teachers from all over the world.  It is amazing to see this Yoga crowd walking around Hong Kong Convention Center in flip flops and yoga attires carrying sticky mats and props.
So possessed by my Yoga passion, I went into the conference with very high expectations, as always, and I have to admit that the outcome was, once again, quite satisfactory.
I was very excited about the variety of classes I had chosen based on different reasons and needs.  In a sprint to stimulate my lately dormant Pitta nature I decided to enroll in the LED Primary Series with Sharath Rangaswamy, grandson of Ashtanga Yoga Guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois; In a need to stay within my comfort zone, I chose some classes with teachers I loved in previous conferences: David Life and David Moreno; looking to improve my knowledge and to get loads of joy from the Yoga style that I practice and teach the most – Vinyasa – I enrolled into different classes with a “potpourri” of teachers that were new to me: Yogini Kaliji, Jason Crandell, Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee; and finally, for the sole purpose of enjoyment I left some room for QiGong with Daniel Li Ox, and Mantra Chanting with Kevin James.  I mixed teachers and styles trying to make it balanced for my body to resist and enjoy the intensity of the conference.
To start with, I had my absolute first encounter with Ashtanga Yoga, and thrust me… the idea of taking this class was frightening!  The result was surprisingly great; Sharath guided us with a constant super slow counting: 1….2….3….4…. ….5, but his tone and attitude were so calm that it helped us overcome the toughness of the routine.  I never thought I could enjoy so much such a strong level of power.  And, even if I don’t think Ashtanga can become my day-to-day type of practice, I have to admit I loved the structure of the series.
With David Life, whom I call the Mick Jagger of Yoga… he totally rocks!!!, I signed up for “The Wild Child of Yoga”, where we were promised wild meditation, wild breathing, wild asanas, and wild ideas and came out of the room wildly blessed.  He always makes very simple concepts become a total whirlpool of energy and emotions that leave you with tears of joy and such a cheerful heart.  After feeling the connection with my wild side, I was craving for more and decided to take a second class with him: “Hot, Hip & Holy”. As always with him, we had an awesome time mixing Yoga and dance movements with the inspiration of his nephew Jules Febre that stood on the stage demoing the hippest movements ever!  I loved the concept that David Life brought into this class, showing us that Yoga can be fun, and that it is our responsibility as teachers to bring the ancient teachings into the modern world in a way that can be understood and enjoyed by the students.
With David Moreno, I went for “Hips: The Other Shoulders”.  With his strong softness and technicality, he led us through an amazing series to open, re-align and understand the hips from a total different perspective. He emphasized on the fact that we all have different bone structures that determine how open our hips can be, that it is not just a matter of flexibility, but most important, he reminded us that flexibility is not the ultimate goal of Yoga.
Regarding the teachers I chose for Vinyasa, I have to confess I didn’t connect with some of them. I have never had such strong feelings towards a teacher so I prefer not to comment about it as I acknowledge the fact that they are great teachers and maybe this was not the right time for me to learn from them. So I’ll just concentrate on a new discovery for me… Jason Crandell. I feel so blessed that I was introduced to him by my friends that couldn’t believe I’ve never been in a class with him.  He has an amazing ability to teach you the postures making them become a magic formula.  With him no posture seems impossible. He studies each pose to its depth and breaks it into simple steps that give you a total understanding of the dynamics of the body structure, without leaving aside the inner forces that make the miracle of each asana come true.  His first words at the beginning of the class -“Effortless Arm Balances”- were: “I want you all to remember that we are here to do Yoga.  We are not in an acrobatics competition”.  Such an inspiration!!! Three thumbs up for him!
At the end of my first day came the time to Chant Mantras with Kevin James.  I always enjoy so much sharing the experience of chanting with the sounds of the harmonium and the drums.  It really brings me to a very relaxing and joyful place.  I can not imagine a world without music!
To close the conference, I have chosen Qi Gong as I’ve heard so much about it and was very interested in giving it a try.  To my happy surprise, I found out last minute that it was going to be a lecture, which at this stage was absolutely perfect as my body could hardly take any more physical activity. Daniel Li Ox, with whom I felt a total connection, uncovered the principles of Qi Gong, an ancient Chinese holistic discipline that incorporates breath, mind awareness and spirit to keep balance and health. He concluded the talk with a lovely meditation that sent me home floating in total bliss.
I always feel so grateful and energized after the conference, not only for what I learn, but most important for the people that I get to share it with! That’s where the real power comes from!
I want to thank all my teachers and friends for such an intense experience!OmShanti, Shanti, Shanti!

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