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Toronto Yoga Conference 2019

Thursday, March 28 - Sunday, March 31, 2019

I know it’s a generic sentiment but I’m going to say it anyway — time just flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I attended the last Toronto Yoga Conference. I had a dream a while back in which the passing of years fully felt like the passing of just months and that’s kind of the sensation I’m getting right now, walking back toward the Convention Centre and reflecting upon everything that has unfolded over the last twelve months. My morning mood is like a cocktail with a pinch of melancholy, a sprinkle of awe and a heaping spoonful of sarcasm; the bleak weather doesn’t particularly help but I remember from the last three years: early spring in Toronto is grey and rainy. End of story.

Nothing in the Convention Centre has changed with the exception of my usual route of entry being blocked off so I’m forced to change course. Maybe that’s a good thing. This year the sign in process is seamless as I remember to have my ID ready so as to avoid the awkward scene of sweaty apologetic fumbling that was yesteryear. My ego smirks with the slightest sense of superiority when I watch other less experienced attendees juggle their backpacks, phones and hot beverages as they struggle to produce the necessary identification — as though preparedness was some indicator of morality. Oh ego, you’re such a b*tch. Nevertheless, I reveal in my silent gloating that I know better. HA! The volunteer who retrieves my badge at the registration desk is the sweet little blue haired babe who feared for my well being as she watched me struggle through a horrific hangover in a detox flow practice last year. She remembers me as well and insists it’s because of the “uniqueness of my last name,” showing me mercy by not recalling my last year’s transgressions. Her kindness reminds me where I am and I decide to leave my b*tchy ego at the door. Dejavu.

I saunter down the hallway toward the first session and plop myself down on the carpeted floor to begin this entry. No surprise, this year is another active wear fashion show. Some dress for comfort and functionality, others use their attire to outwardly proclaim their status as a free spirit. There’s your standard colourful leggings, excessively wide harem pants, disheveled top buns, massive infinity scarves meant to be worn not for warmth but as a calculated flash of colour, knitted leg warmers, bulky nose rings, Hindu inspired tattoos. Make no mistake: I am not above the superficial obsession with donning “on point” fashion selections. In fact, I plan my outfits days in advance. This morning, I’m in a cozy grey Marc Jacob NY Performance hoodie with the simple feature of criss cross of shoe strings up each arm, black Calvin Klein Performance tights with a similar criss cross up the back of my legs, black and white Adidas sneakers. Beneath my sweater I’ve chosen a white Sam Edelman tank top with the words “Find the Silver Lining” across the chest and a hot Lulu Lemon pink sports bra.

Although my resting bitch face is strong (it’s still the morning, cut me some slack), I am operating with the intention of trying to remove the usual distance I create between myself and other attendees this year. I’m going to try to be more approachable and less stand offish about my participation in the experience. I’m most comfortable with my tight knit inner circle so I don’t open up easily…. especially to gatherings of people that more than likely hold far left anti-science perspectives. See? Those are my apprehensive assumptions and critical judgments based in my own fearful anxiety of rejection. I’m going to try really hard not to put up any walls. Open heart, open heart, open heart. My silent inner mantra.

I see Tracey joyfully floating down the hallway, pausing to dole out hugs to whom I assume are some of her regular students and friends. I recognize her beautiful face immediately and I am reminded of why I was fond of her during my 200hr teacher training years ago at Spynga Inc. I respect her greatly and take her seriously as a mentor. She’s a golden goddess exuding the kind of self assuredness in a woman that I so admire. She is a science based educator brimming with evidence based knowledge that she’s eager to share in a concise and easily accessible way — all business, zero fluffy nonsense. That fits the bill.

The doors open right on time and I take my usual favourite spot in any session: back spot, near the exit, against a wall. We make eye contact briefly but I don’t approach her immediately and instead continue to type away on my laptop. Unsure if she recognizes me, I wait until she comes around to provide each attendee with a detailed handout. She definitely remembers me, offers me a warm hug instead of the impersonal handshake I offer, and tells me how much she missed my brain. This makes me smile, inside and outside, as I’m often insecure that I am remembered more for my appearance than my intelligence.

And so it begins…

Last year when I blogged about my experience at the Conference, I created a narrative that focused as much on my emotional experience as it did my intellectual findings. This format suited me in that particular time and space. This year, however, I’m letting myself off the hook narratively and simply providing polished and expanded notes on what I learned from each session. While this is a slightly less personal formatting, I think this more objective framework will give you, the reader, space to draw your own conclusions about the content.


SESSION NAME: Resolve to Evolve

INSTRUCTOR: Tracey Soghrati, BSc., BSc.N, RN, C-IAYT

FORMAT: Workbook Exploration & Discussion; Functional Yoga Therapy Practice & Myofascial Release w. Yin Yoga Practice

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Self study from a psychological perspective; exploring emotional triggers and their origins; learning how to identify and manage emotional triggers in more productive and healthier ways.


Workbook Questions (Pre & Post Practice): Who are you today? How do you feel physically, emotionally and mentally? What is your intention?