Monday, November 2, 2015

San Diego Yoga Conference

Hi Folks,

It was so hard to find a time that fit all of the donators schedule on presenting this great event to you. So instead I thought I would offer at least a highlight of it here for you.

The San Diego Yoga Conference was put together by none other than Yoga Journal, a leader and experienced organization that has been doing these conferences for a long time, 40 years to be exact, so their expertise is top notch, which is why I figured I would start with them.

The Location: Let me just say that the location that Yoga Journal chose this year for their San Diego event was amazing. It was hosted at the beautiful and historic Hotel Del Coronado. Most of the classed that they had to offer were located in the various conference rooms, but because of the beautiful location there were also great classes out on the beach, the lawn and the Stand Up Paddle Board classes in the Ocean.

Our first day we had Orientation, where we learned about all the different jobs we would be performing and how to do them. The idea for most people who volunteer for this type of job is work exchange. You work for Yoga Journal and they allow you take some of the classes as trade. But because I was coming for a different purpose, I asked to work all the different jobs, so I could get a real understanding of what it took to run an event like this.

some of the jobs we did entailed
  • setting up goodie bags, taping floors, setting up signs and decore. 
  • Registration helpers and Ask Me (being available for the paid students for any questions needed)
  • Working the door on the classes that were offered. 
  • Market Place Counter, counting how many people came into the marketplace. 
  • Smile booth - taking pictures of anyone who wanted a photo of them doing a yoga pose on the front cover of Yoga Journal. (not for real, but for fun.) 
  • Event Space Host - working the many events that they offered outside of the paid classes. Most of these events were free. ie. Kids Yoga, Fashion show, and Ariel Yoga
  • Larger Event Hosts - Warriors for Healing, and Lectures 
I truly feel blessed that I was able to work just about everything they had available! It wasnt always pretty, matter of fact some of it was down right hard, at times, but it was an amazing experience. I met so many great people! The staff were over the top helpful and friendly and really truly appreciated you! More so than any other job I have ever held. It was crazy awesome!

One of my favorite events was the introduction to the program Warriors for Healing. We worked the class and even got to do some yoga. Bhava Ram was the teacher, and he has such an inspirational heart. It was amazing to me to see how many people were there participating, and how many that were Vets. He made such a difference in so many peoples lives and I got the feeling that he does that on a regular basis. I also had the pleasure of listening to him speak at a Lecture, that was amazing as well. I love to see how Yoga reaches out to those in need, and make a difference. Way to go, to all that were involved in this great kick off. 

We worked alot of hours, and got very little sleep. There were times we were up at 5am working all day long and arriving back to our room at 8pm sometimes 10pm at night. We had some long breaks but our room wasnt at the Hotel, so we didnt have time to drive back to our room and make it back in time for our next shift. So relaxation was found on the beach or in the car. Though it was very nice lying on the beach, it wasnt so nice doing it in work clothes.

One of the greatest highlights for me, was the opportunity to get a hug from none other than Seane Corn! The story is hilarious, and is such an example of who I really am.
I was working the Smile Booth - taking pics of people doing yoga poses for a fun shot on the front page of YJ. I was ending my shift and getting ready to work another shift somewhere else. The next person that came in after me was struggling trying to learn how to run the ipad. After working with him for awhile, he just wasnt grasping it, so I called in for back up to send someone else to work the shift. One of the lead staff comes over to find out what was happening, and a friend of mine calls me over to where they are standing. I quickly tell her no, as we have customers who need assistance, and I cant leave my station. (even though it technically was not my station any more). She insisted that I come over immediately, and the lead staff member said the same thing. I was very frustrated as the new volunteer was immediately stress over the thought of me stepping away. I assured him I would be right back, and that he could handle it. Unbeknownst by me, Seane Corn was standing right next to the lead staff member. I didnt want to interrupt so I didnt say anything when I arrived. They quickly introduced me to Seane and I immediately got embarrassed. My friend says, "hey, lets get a picture" now I am really embarrassed because I was so caught off guard, though everyone else knew exactly what was happening. Of course i get called out on my blushing, which makes it completely worse. Seane got a great kick out of along with everyone else, and I got a great pic. Its a fond memory I will hold dear to my heart.

What I learned....

It takes a small army to do all the work for set up! Some major players are involved here and alot of volunteers are needed.

Volunteers are a key part of the whole system and need to be valued as such.

You need a lot of  Sponsors to help pay the expenses of such a program. Think big scale.

You need a theme for such a big event. A big draw that really targets the people in your area.

this takes a lot of planning that could be years to pull off.

Be prepared that your first event you will not make much money at all. But that each event builds on the next, and consistency sells on events like this.

Well thats a wrap folks. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a success on so many levels, for me. It will probably be a few years before I am able to pull this off, as their is a lot of planning still to go. I'm totally ok with that, as I know it will be a success.

I was able to meet some amazing people, and get a real good look at what it takes to make a successful event, and it was a huge eye opener for me. Though I didnt get to take any classes per say, it was alot more successful than I had hoped, thanks in part by the amazing staff of Yoga Journal. I have made some life long friends, and plan on attending an another event in the near future, because I loved the experience. I loved being a part of something much bigger than me, and to work with some great people who have a lot to teach me in running big events such as this.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to each and every one of you who made this an amazing experience.
Namaste, Kris

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