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How We Got to the KYTA Conference,
and What We Found There

Winter 2008

by Tresca Weinstein


KYTA member Eva Young teaches Kripalu Yoga in the tiny town of Rutledge, Georgia, whose motto is Small But Special. Rutledge has two streets and there is no stop sign at the intersection, just a barrel, painted red. Eva teaches five classes per week in Rutledge (population 700), and about half a dozen people attend each class.

One day in June, one of her students asked Eva if she was planning to attend the KYTA conference in August. Eva said no; she is a single mom to two young boys, and her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, was living with the family. Not this year, she said.

But her sangha had different ideas. In six weeks, this little community with a very big heart raised one thousand dollars in contributions to send Eva to the conference. A Kripalu or Bust! poster went up on the wall of the studio, and Eva and her students pored over the conference catalog, considering what workshops Eva might take. They held full-moon and sunrise yoga classes to benefit the cause, and sent Eva off with a community celebration. It was humbling, impressive, and amazing, according to Eva, who added that her sangha were all riding in her heart the whole time she was away.

Like Eva, each of the yoga teachers who attended the KYTA conference this year has a powerful story to tell, a story of the journey to this dharma, this place, and this time in his or her life. And every story intersects with and impacts so many other stories. As Vandita Kate Marchesiello, KYTA Director, put it at the opening session of the conference, When your practice is fully alive, when we are conscious and begin to live that path of yoga, it is hard not to have an effect on everyone we meet. Thus the theme of the 17th annual conference: Personal Practice, Global Impact.

What happened at the conference? What did the teachers take home with them to benefit their classes, their communities, and thus the world? Remember the fable about the six blind men who were asked to describe an elephant? Each man described the elephant in a different way, depending on which part of it they had touched. For the man who touched the tail, an elephant was like rope. For the man who felt the trunk, an elephant was like a tree branch.

For those of us attending the conference, inspiration and exhilaration could be found in so many places: in the uplifting music, in the informative workshops offering practical tools along with powerful experiential learning, in the keynotes delivered by senior Kripalu teachers. In his poignant and funny talk on opening night, Devarshi Steven Hartman described Kripalu Yoga as a process of “being open to the questions and the inquiry into our bodies, our emotions, our breath, our witness consciousness, our souls.” Yoga, he said, is about learning to love “the endless, messy process of inhabiting the eternal, messy self.”

For some of us, the most beautiful moments of the conference came on Sunday evening, when we were paired with someone we had likely never met before to exchange innermost thoughts and healing touch. The experience was part of an evening with Devarshi and the Kripalu Yoga teacher trainers that got us moving, chanting, and opening our hearts to one another without reservation. The next morning, Stephen Cope spoke of fulfillment and dharma; the work of bringing forth all the possibilities within us, he said, is a spiritual experience.

As for Eva Young, she brought back with her to Rutledge not only lots of new information, CDs, and books to share with her sangha, but also a gift she didn’t expect: a new and powerful connection with Swami Kripalu and his teachings of love. “Vandita and Vidya [Carolyn Dell’uomo] brought his insight and energy straight home to me,” Eva says. She shared some of the words that came to her during a deep meditation in a workshop led by Vidya: Let love guide your life, open your heart, and expand you. From that one river you create out of your love, you feed many people. She adds, “I am bringing home so much love and a heart that feels wide open.”

Mark your calendar for the 2009 KYTA Conference: August 28 to 31.

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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