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KYTA Conference 2003 in words and pictures

Winter 2003

by Tresca Weinstein

Teachers filling the halls and classrooms of Kripalu CenterWith 384 yoga teachers filling the halls and classrooms of Kripalu Center, the building hummed all weekend with light, joy and celebration. The hugs, laughter, smiles and tears reflected the love that serves as the foundation for this outstanding event, which took place Oct. 23-26. "This feels like the source of some great river. I come here and it all pours forth and we’re part of it," said conference participant Penny Ballantyne. "I came to be in this energy of Kripalu Yoga teachers and sit in this pool of nonjudgment and compassion and deep empathy," said Tawanna Kane, who graduated from Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training in 2001. "I feel so heard."

ShobhanAt Thursday evening’s opening session, Shobhan reminded us of our responsibility to keep yoga from becoming just another exercise fad. To embody the depth of yoga we must model its core teaching-that no one needs to earn a connection to spirit, that yoga is not a self-improvement technique but rather a spiritual path that begins with the bold assertion that each of us was born divine. "Perhaps most important," he said, "yoga allows us to look deeply into ourselves and see a stunning truth. No matter how stiff our body, how confused our mind or closed our heart, the power of a direct connection to spirit is greater than all that. The universal spirit is who and what we are."

Maya BreuerMaya Breuer, a member of Kripalu’s board of trustees, planted the first seeds for what has grown into Teaching for Diversity, Kripalu’s grant program for yoga teachers doing outreach work with diverse populations. At this year’s opening session, we heard moving stories from three grant recipients.

Anna Dunwell Friedler, below left, teaches yoga to battered women and children living in a shelter. Tawanna Kane, below middle, to women of color in New York City and Mary Beth DiGannm, below right, to children at risk. Many conference participants were inspired to explore how they too could make a difference in this way.

Anna Dunwell Friedler Tawanna Kane Mary Beth DiGannm

SudhirSudhir brought more belly laughs to the Main Chapel than ever before. At Friday night’s sesson, he jokingly referred to himself as "tall and funny"...

Stephen Cope...and introduced Stephen Cope as "short and deep." Fulfilling that description, Stephen shared his view on the psychological role of the teacher in transformative process; We hope to have his talk available as a KYTA resource CD in 2004. The session was a highlight for many, including Beverly Hummitzsch, who was here for her first conference after graduating from KYTT last year. "The tape from their talk in 2002 has been supporting me over the last six months," she said. "I’m so grateful for the wonderful support we receive."

Kripalu Center has affiliated with nearly 30 yoga studios in the U.S., Canada and England. Twenty-two KAS (Kripalu-affiliated studio) owners attended the KYTA Conference and many of them gathered on Wednesday for a pre-conference meeting.

Kripalu Affiliated Studios

Attending were, kneeling front, Deb Foss; front row, Donna Boyle, Sheila deMagalhaes, Kendal Sheldon and Jeanne Wettlaufer, Jane Montgomery, Mary Lou Buck, Marleen Salko, Vandita, Rosemary Clough, Pam Jackson, Debra Risberg, Toni Bradley and Anne Marie Ward; back row, Lawrence and Rose Campisi, Bob Gibbs and Diane Utaski. Also attending were Paul and Sydnie Cote, Shirley Sicsko and Sue Giberson. See a complete list of Kripalu-affiliated studios.

Vandita and ShrilaVandita and Shrila shared the full gamut of emotions and experiences throughout the weekend. Whether the moment called for emceeing the conference, giving one-on-one time to a participant or dropping in to sample workshops, they did it all with grace and lovingkindness. All their planning and preparation paid off when the conference was rated "very good to excellent" by 98% of participants. "Hosting this year’s conference was one of the highlights of my year," said Vandita. "I was inspired by our speakers, the workshop presenters and the yoga teachers in attendance. All are so committed to delivering the breadth and depth of yoga to their students and keeping it alive in their own practice. I am honored to be part of KYTA, as a member and as a colleague of many talented instructors."

WorkshopThere were 28 three-hour workshops offered on Friday and Saturday, covering a myriad of topics of relevance to yoga teachers-from working with specific groups to planning classes to running your yoga business.

Here’s just a sampling of what we heard from participants.

Jashoda [Edmunds] and Brahmani [Liebman]’s workshop on assisting addressed all my fears.-Gean Bloss

Stephen Cope’s workshop on the Yoga Sutras was a really good, solid, clear introduction. It’s demystified it a little for me so it’s not intimidating. In Todd Norian’s inversions workshop, I did my third handstand since injuring my wrist a few years ago. Something about the alignment and language he used helped me know where my body needed to be.-Tawanna Kane

Children's WorkshopI came especially for Rosemary Clough’s workshop on children and also got the added benefit of the lunchtime talk with Craig Hanauer on children with special needs.-Kim Krenz

Ann Greene’s workshop on hand balancing postures was fun, fun, fun!-Brucie Waltemyer

Men in Workshop"I chose classes to help me move to another step. I learned a lot in Rudy Peirce’s workshop on the complete Kripalu Yoga class...

...and in Women in WorkshopRebekkah Kronlage’s workshop on bringing Kripalu Yoga Stages II and III into a beginner’s class. Now I want to move on to Teaching the Deeper Practices."-Beverly Hummitzsch

Closing SessionSunday morning’s closing session integrated all the experiences of the weekend and celebrated yoga teachers as catalysts for transformation. There were laughter, tears and countless hugs. "By Sunday morning, our group energy was incredibly high," Shobhan said afterwards. "As I watched each person affirm their next step on the path and symbolically blow a string of soap bubbles to heaven, my heart broke open. I was reminded once again that KYTA is my tribe." "This is the best conference I’ve attended so far," said Gean Bloss, who’s been coming to KYTA conferences since she graduated from KYTT in 1999. "Everything I’ve gotten is exactly what I needed. I came looking to be reignited as both a yogini and a teacher, and in both respects, I have been revitalized. I’m definitely coming back next year!"

Complete list of articles by this author:

The 1999 KYTA Conference Fosters Excitement and Growth

KYTA's Teaching for Diversity Program

Scenes from a Conference: More than 300 teachers attend KYTA Conference 2000

Snapshots from KYTA Conference 2001

Bindu Source Johnson shares her experience

Coverage of the 2002 KYTA Conference, Oct. 24-27

Tides Foundation awards KYTA $50,000 for yoga teachers serving diverse populations

Yoga on Tape: Reviews of yoga products created by KYTA members

Yoga on Disc and Tape

KYTA Conference 2003 in words and pictures

KYTA Conference 2004

Yoga on Disc

Kripalu implements new approach to program assisting

Complete guide to Kripalu Yoga hits the shelves

Coverage of KYTA Conference 2005

Enhancing your teaching with yoga's sister science: Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist training begins in January

A sneak peek at KYTA's 2006 Yoga Teachers Conference

Yoga on Disc

Green warriors: Laura Cornell's Green Yoga Association blends yoga and ecology

Yogagaia tells the story of the universe

The yoga of laughter: Keni Fine's Sleeping Swami brings giggles and guidance to the world

Yoga on Disc: Reviews of new yoga products created by KYTA members

Changing the world in memory of a daughter: The Rachel Greene Memorial Fund

Yoga on Disc: Reviews of new yoga CDs from our members

Yoga on Disc: Reviews of CDs by KYTA Conference 2007 presenters and entertainers

Reigniting the flame: KYTA Conference 2007

New member discounts are here! Save every time you visit Kripalu

Flow states: Questions for Ed Harrold

Yoga on Disc

Yoga on Disc, Tape, and Paper

Yoga Ed. trainer awarded $150,000 grant to bring yoga to Pittsburgh public schools

Yoga Everywhere: Spotlighting our Teaching for Diversity grant recipients

Yoga on Disc and on the Page

Green Yoga Association takes new form

Yoga on Disc and on the Page: Reviews of recently released products

Yoga and the Imagination: A Q&A with Randal Williams

Yoga on Disc and on the Page

How we got to the KYTA Conference, and what we found there

Yoga Everywhere: A column spotlighting our Teaching for Diversity grant recipients

Yoga on Disc

Profile of a Cross Trainer

Seva CD 2008: The Soundtrack of Kripalu

Restorative Yoga: The Yoga of Meditation

News from the Professional Trainings Office

Deep Green Yoga

Yoga on Disc and on the Page

The State of the Training

Yoga + Ayurveda: The Perfect Formula for Balance

Edi Pasalis and the Institute for Extraordinary Living pioneer a standardized Kripalu curriculum.

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