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Coverage of KYTA Conference 2005

Winter 2005

by Tresca Weinstein

They came from Australia, from Iceland, from San Diego, Santa Fe, Canada, and Costa Rica. They came from Japan, France, Oregon, and Arizona. They came to connect, to be inspired, to refill their wells with the sweet water of Source, to breathe the crisp autumn air of the Berkshires and know they were home at Kripalu once again—or for the very first time. On Thursday, October 20, more than 300 yoga teachers gathered in the Main Chapel for the opening session of KYTA Conference 2005, Embodied Yoga: Living from Your Center. KYTA's marketing guru, Megan McDonough, introduced the winners of the first annual Yoga Entrepreneur Awards, Diane Dymek, Jacci Reynolds, and Edi Pasalis and KYTA member Sandra Callender led us in an exercise that introduced two themes of the weekend—unity and community. Teachers used the pastels provided to color intricate Sri Yantra mandalas—symbols of creation—and the works of art came together to create a beautiful backdrop for the conference. "Not only were they gorgeous in their own individual beauty but collectively they made an incredible statement," said Sandra. "The process integrated us individually and as a community." Bhavani Lorraine Nelson closed the evening with a meditation that left us centered and full of peace.

Devarshi Steven Hartman, Kripalu's Director of Professional Trainings, joined Vandita to host the conference for the first time. "I am always amazed at the powerful transformation that occurs when many yogis come together," he said. "Yoga teachers are Kripalu's treasure and when they return the whole building and staff rejoice because we get to see and feel our purpose fulfilled." For Vandita, the KYTA Conference is the highlight of the year. "It allows me to welcome and serve our members in so many ways," she said.

Friday evening's keynote speakers, Amy Weintraub and Brahmanand Don Stapleton, moved and energized participants. "What do you love?" Amy asked us. "Find the passion in your compassion and take it off your mat and out into the world that has never needed you as much as it does today." Community sessions also included "You and the Future of Kripalu Yoga," a noontime panel discussion with Devarshi, Brahmanand, and Kripalu President and Vice-President Dinabandhu and Ila Sarley. Devarshi introduced the faculty's recently distilled definition of Kripalu Yoga. There was also time for reunions and making new friends. "The big highlight is being with other yoga teachers and having a community to be part of," said Karen Findling of Rochester, New York. "I'm going home inspired to do more networking with Kripalu teachers near me."

From chair yoga to Vinyasa yoga, from time mastery to hand-balancing postures, the 28 workshops offered on Friday and Saturday offered participants a wealth of choices and knowledge. "I'm fired up!" said Karen Findling, who was here for her fifth conference. "I want to bring more chanting to my classes, and Sudhakar and Kathleen's mantra workshop and Cynthia Snodgrass's Sanskrit workshop gave me the courage to do it." Chris Petrino of Carver, Massachusetts, who volunteers as a safety assistant in yoga classes, discovered invaluable tools in Debra Risberg's workshop on yoga for chronic pain and Karen Clarke's on adaptive asana. For Justina Mejias of Brooklyn, New York, Dean Hudson's workshop on Tonglen meditation offered tools for moving through the intense energy she's exposed to in her work with StoryCorps, recording the experiences of World Trade Center survivors, and with the Lineage Project, teaching yoga to incarcerated youth. "I'm taking home all kinds of things for my personal practice and my teaching, along with a clearer vision of how to take what I learned out into my community," said Laura Danna of Warrensburg, New York.

Chanting was the ecstatic soundtrack of the weekend. Jai Uttal, who joined us Saturday evening, and Satyaa and Pari, who sang during Sunday morning's closing session, opened our hearts and sent our spirits flying. "The gentleness and the love they give out is beautiful," said first-time conference participant Lydia Pollock of Ontario, Canada.

Sunday morning's closing session provided some of the most powerful moments of the conference. "The deepest effects of yoga practice have to be chosen. They don't just come," Yoganand Michael Carroll told us in his keynote talk on pranayama and life mastery. "The mastery is in recognizing the process, and adapting and creating the process so it works for us." We formed three concentric circles for a Dance of Universal Peace led by Dean Hudson and with movement and song celebrated our profound interconnection and renewed commitment to our lives in yoga. "I came here for professional reasons," said Debra Jensen, an Integrative Yoga teacher from East Quogue, New York, who was here for her first conference, "but I found spiritual growth, inspiration, and the feeling of being fully alive." See you 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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