Today, I want to recap some of the amazing experiences I had at the Victoria Yoga Conference. Much love to Carolyne Taylor and the wonderful crew of volunteers who made it all happen!
Friday night started with inspiring stories of extraordinary living!
I did a great session on shoulder stability from Fiji McAlpine; I learned a new way of approaching the downdog-chaturanga-updog-downdog sequence that requires more strength but less strain on the shoulders and low back (which is always good!!) and a few new shoulder stretches (which I so desperately need!)
I followed that up with deep back bending with Suzanne Faith Slocum Gori … and did some great partner assists that brought my foot to my head in full Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (or one-legged king pigeon… yes!). Some really deep chest opening is a great way to start the day!
My Yogadopa: yoga for people living with Parkinson’s disease session went really well and I had a great diverse group of yoga therapist, yogi with PD, interested yogi, healthcare worker, yoga teacher and caregiver. We did a general overview of Parkinson’s, some of the symptoms and specific yoga poses that can address the rigidity, bradykinesia, weakness, asymmetry and fatigue.
Rachel Scott did an amazing job of summarizing a trillion years (ok, I exaggerate!) of yoga history in 75-minutes… I can really geek out on vedic history, the upanishads and the bhagavad gita. And Madhuri offered a wonderfully grounding Ayuvedic yoga practice for the winter (vata) season.
I learned a lot about releasing the psoas from Jules Payne (Ajna yoga) and that by keeping our hip flexors/groin relaxed and “supple”, we increase parasympathetic activation and reducing our stress response. It felt so good to work on relaxing the front of our hips (modern stressors – i.e. sitting, driving keeps them so tight!) through some great releases (slow-mo ball rolling with our pelvis and spiky ball rolling of our feet – amazing!), box squats and alternate limb super mans (to build gluteus max) and legs-up-the-wall pose with some resistance. This is one session I may have to blog about more… because who doesn’t love the psoas?!
Finally, Ryan Leier (from One Yoga) led a morning Ashtanga class with a twist … and offered some great teachings from P. Jois – reminding us that our physical practice needs to be grounded in the yoga sutras, yamas (right/ethical livings), niyamas (restraints/observances) and breath.
It was an incredibly FULL weekend, in all senses of the word. Much gratitude to the yoga community in Victoria (and those yogis who travelled to be here). much love.
Also, see CHEK news coverage of the conference (and a mention of my workshop at 00:45!)