Ashtanga Yoga Confluence 2017
By Stephanie Santos
I had the pleasure of attending the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence in San Diego this year. When I was given the date, I was tingling with excitement. The 2016 Confluence was my introduction to Ashtanga Yoga in many ways. I had practiced for less than a year prior to attending and I had no idea what to expect. What I found was to be an ongoing respect and love for the practice, and I attribute much of that from my experience at the event.
The 2017 Confluence was held at the Kona Kai Resort and Spa, a beautiful hotel in Shelter Island, San Diego. All of the class and events were scattered throughout the hotel over those 4 days. The first night was the Ganesh Puja, a sacred ceremony that honors the god known as the Remover of Obstacles and the Lord of Beginnings. The ceremony was held outside, which is the tradition, held in the courtyard. The teachers gathered with the ceremony master as they spoke a blessing for this very meaningful journey that was about to begin.
As I met many of the students and teachers that attended the event (people travel from all over the world to join the Confluence every year) I realized that there are just as many reasons for their attendance as there are people. Everyone that I spoke to was looking for something unique. Some attendees were teachers, knowledgeable about Ashtanga and wanting to meet the teachers that have inspired them. Many came as beginners, having taken only a few classes and wishing to learn more. Some attendees had practiced Ashtanga for years and were looking to be inspired once again. This event truly is for everyone. The schedule covered so many aspects of the practice, the spiritual and the physical. There was a workshop on the Form & Formless: Yogic Deities & Enlightenment with Dr. Manoj Chalam. the physical. Then there were all of the many intensive courses, including back bending with Mark Robberds, strengthening with Kino MacGregor and detailing intermediate series with Laruga Glaser.
The speakers were sensational, there was an openness with the dialogue that allowed the students to ask any questions they wanted. During one panel discussion, the topic of sex came up, specifically the importance of abstinence on moon days. A palpable anxiousness could be felt in the crowd as we waited for one of the panelists to answer. His perspective caused an eruption of laughter, and he was able to tactfully guide us back to the real purpose of the rule; which was the importance of truth in yourself and not diminishing the power within each of us. He reminded us that life is a delicate balance of respect and love for yourself and those you care about. At the end of the panel each teacher read their favorite paragraph from the Yoga Mala.
So many people involved in the confluence work tirelessly to bring about its success. It is a labor of love, of that I am sure. While there are too many to name in this article, it brings up a very crucial point that we all may have taken for granted. The Sanskrit word Parampara, denoting the succession of knowledge that teachers share with their students, is celebrated at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence. It's a place where everyone has a chance to practice together in a beautiful space, surrounded by complete strangers that are all sharing the beauty of Ashtanga Yoga.
To learn more about the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence visit: ashtangayogaconfluence.com.