Hoo Boy. It happened again. The Southeast Yoga Conference came and went and when the high tide recedes I find myself wading through some intense emotions. I could easily turn this into a syrupy Hallmark-style summary of my experience, and I would mean every word, but I’ll try to express myself more specifically.
This one weekend requires a tremendous amount of planning and Melissa Katz and I work steadily throughout the year to bring it to fruition. We go through growing pains and distracting frustrations, mainly brought on by technological hiccups, but the bulk of our energy is pure excitement as we place pieces of next year’s puzzle carefully into place.
We can only hope that the teachers we invite to the SEYC will be of as much interest to our attendees as they are to us. We can only hope that our Sponsors and Vendors make productive connections within the Marketplace and ultimately feel their participation was worthwhile all the way around. We can only hope that the attendees enjoy and learn from the Presenters, gaining information that resonates with their bodies and their minds and leaves them feeling more connected to their yoga practice and to their community. We can only hope though. We cannot control anything once we’ve put the pieces in place. Gina Minyard commented that I looked “so calm” during the weekend and I suppose this is why; I can only be there to point people toward their workshop room or share conversation or help Vendors load-in. I cannot control any truly impactful part of the experience, I can only hope. In this moment I’m smiling as I realize that Asha Patel chose to gift me a Sanskrit necklace from her beautiful collection, she chose the Asha necklace, and Asha of course means “Hope.” Well played, Asha.
I believe that for any yoga studio owner, yoga teacher, specialized academic (such as Marcy Braverman Goldstein from Sanskrit Revolution), special-event organizer, certified-anything, there exists a conflicting goal; one the one hand, we choose to put our energy into this area that we genuinely believe can be of service to people, and on the other hand, we really, really, really, really want people, lots of people, to trust us and pay for this service. Gah! How Awkward! Well, I think the only choice is to make awkward your friend. Embrace the Awkward. Melissa and I want to grow this event slowly and steadily, which means our expenses will increase at the same rate. We will not raise the cost of the SEYC dramatically, certainly nowhere near the cost of other weekend-long yoga conference or festivals, so our only hope (there it is again) is that more and more people will attend each year. We, and all of the aforementioned certified teachers and business owners, can only put “it” out there and hope the integrity of our efforts speaks for themselves.
I saw the faces of our community this weekend and I am more energized than ever to support all of you, as teachers and students, specialists and academics, and most certainly wearers of multiple hats including corporate worker, parent, caregiver, commuter, and all around exhausted adult. We can grow together. We can learn together. We can lift each other up through our shared successes and through our difficult experiences. We really can. We already do. And having a community that does this is like waking up with a million bucks in the bank, or so I imagine.
THANK YOU to all the Attendees, the Sponsors, the Presenters, the Volunteers (I am bowing now), and the well-wishers who could not make it this year. Each year flies faster than the one before, so we will see each other soon. I know I’ll see many of you at upcoming classes, music events, workshops, and coffee shops well before next year’s SEYC, but if it is a full year between sightings, I hope you continue to find and celebrate the connection to self and to your own community. I’ll be over here practicing my awkward embrace.
For more photos of the conference click here.
Nicole Jurovics tries very hard to be the person her yoga mat thinks she is. Her fragmented life include titles such as wife, mom, yoga teacher (at Decatur Yoga & Pilates and Yoga Samadhi), Southeast Yoga Conference Co-Director, artist manager, booking agent, smart-ass, sushi-lover, tree-climber, and hammock tester. She knows who you are and thinks you’re awesome.