The Northwest Yoga Conference is a two day celebration of the Northwest yoga community. Highlights include over 30 workshops to deepen your yoga practice and a focus on community building. The conference offers something for everyone including those who have never taken a class before to those who teach yoga. Find out more at www.nwyogaconference.com
Approaching its February 2012 debut, the newly-appointed Northwest Yoga Conference is sure to inspire and draw hundreds to check out the thriving Northwest yoga scene. Northwest Yoga Conference founder and yogini, Melissa Hagedorn, started her quest with a simple wish:
she wanted to find a local, affordable immersive yoga weekend where she could sample the fruits of yoga across several traditions and many teachers. Hagedorn, who started yoga years back by thumbing through one of her father’s old yoga books, and is now a devoted practitioner at the Laughing Buddha Yoga Studio in Mill Creek, knew she could not plan her own yoga retreat.
Over time, however, she found her inspiration for the conference by listening to a tiny voice inside that said, “Go bigger.”
A feat like this is certainly no modest undertaking, as Melissa soon learned. So passionate about engaging with the “go bigger” mantra, she resigned from her day job to focus 100% on her dream: to integrate the NW yoga community and ignite a spark that carries the conference’s spirit year round, leading up to a scalable event grounded in yogic principles and community values.
After experiencing the Hanuman festival, whereby different sections of the event were housed spanning a variety of venues, Hagedorn wanted something that offered ease and simplicity, a chance to relax and not feel rushed getting from point A to point B. When scouting locations to host the event, Hagedorn was seeking a bright, simple floor plan in a hassle-free space, and fell in love with the Lynnwood Convention Center, home to the event this winter.
“It is just so bright & beautiful, a convention center that is intimate enough for yoga, but large enough to accommodate celebrating our unique yoga community.” Melissa, a natural smiler exclaims, “The floor plan was simple, parking was free, and it has a gorgeous floor to ceiling window wall drawing in natural light. It just seemed like a great space to host a conference where anyone with any ability is invited to explore yoga.”
Beyond yoga classes of many traditions, the event will have diversified offerings including lectures, community roundtables, live music, a wellness center and karma lounge for holistic services, and a mercantile area to experience the latest and greatest in yoga products & services. “The Marketplace experience will be informative and fun, while keeping with the esprit de corps of the event– not a big product push.” Melissa is mindful to add.
“We are accepting just over 300 attendees, and people are already signing up as part of our Early Bird registration which is exciting! We have confirmed over 30 workshops featuring over 40 star yogis in the region. Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver are all represented.” (NOTE: the Early Bird registration ends this week, October 31st, so don’t delay- sign up now at www.nwyogaconference.com).
Many types of yoga, traditional and inspired, will be represented by some of the Northwest’s best teachers. “I felt so spoiled for choice when I received all the applications. I am so excited for the teachers that we have at this year’s event and the diversity of topics!
There will be yoga for everyone. This is an event where even my grandmother can put on her sweats and come try chair yoga in one room while other yogis can base & fly with Dawn & Lux Sternstein at the Acro-Yoga FUNdamentals class.
We have combined a good balance of active and restorative, lecture and community events, so people can manage a full six hours of all things yoga and leave feeling invigorated, not tired.”
Some of Melissa’s personal highlights for the conference include: Portland’s Tiffany Cruikshank’s “Flipping Your World Upside Down” and as she is currently training for her first marathon, Vancouver’s Mike Dennison’s “Yoga for Runners”, as well as a panel discussion with Q&A open to the conference featuring recognized leaders in the yoga community. Other teachers on the roster include Soleil Hepner, Ali Valdez, Ai Endo, Liz Doyle, Troy Lucero, Megan Costello, and Samantha Ananya Brown.
Melissa’s priorities include providing a venue for yoga practitioners to deepen their practice in a meaningful way and building interconnectedness across our various yoga studios, envisioning teachers and studios collaborating together and expanding efforts on raising awareness to community issues. Entrepreneurial in nature, Melissa has no shortage of ideas for yoga in our region, and is excited to have finally found that immersive local yoga experience she has long been looking for.