Barcelona Yoga Conference: Yoga For Everybody And Every Body
By Jen Schuler
When your boyfriend’s mother asks if you want to attend the 9th Annual Barcelona Yoga Conference (BYC), you say “yes”! It has been a journey to get to the Barcelona Yoga Conference. My boyfriend Chase and I have moved mountains to make this yogic summer adventure happen...and it’s finally here! This will be my first Barcelona Yoga Conference, as well as my first international yoga festival, and I cannot contain my excitement. While the practice of “less is more” is important on a yogi’s journey, I can’t help but pack that extra dress or extra pair of yoga pants; Chase just rolls his eyes as I neatly fold another shirt and say, “I’ll definitely want this.”
Sometimes we are allowed our small pleasures, and with the line-up of presenters at BYC this year, there will be no shortage of pleasure, growth, and mindfulness. BYC welcomes the inexperienced. I cannot stand on my head or sit in a split, and even sitting cross-legged for too long makes me anxious, but this festival reminds us that “yoga is for everybody, and every body.” And this message is an important one for the presenters. Here are just a few of the presenters and teachers I am particularly excited to experience: Brain Kest’s power flow and meditation, the “lush celestial soundscapes” of Mirabia Ceiba’s music, Simon Park’s liquid flow, Mirjam Wagner’s healing yin practice, and Sebastian Burtu’s Neuro Somatic Reprogramming.
First up, Brian Kest. As a California native and a frequent Santa Monica visitor, I am now kicking myself that I have never visited Kest’s Santa Monica studio, Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation. Kest’s background is based in Goenka’s teachings in Vipassana Meditation, which began to shift his Ashtanga practices to create power yoga: a combination of “freedom and discovery.” This is fitting when I look at how he interprets Goenka’s words of “give what you can give”. Kest immediately thought, “why can’t I run a yoga studio in the same way?” Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation became one of the first studios to be a donation-based studio in California, once again reminding us that yoga is and should be for everybody.
In the same thread of inclusiveness sits Mirabai Ceiba, a world music duo consisting of Markus Sieber and Angelika Baumbach, whose concerts are “group celebrations for peace—joyous and loving occasions that embody the duo’s profound belief in music as a universal language uniting all the world’s peoples, cultures and traditions.” Mirabai Ceiba’s devotional music is a mixture of “Gurmukhi mantras from the Kundalini Yoga tradition and original songs in English and Spanish that reflect a Native American influence and also draw words of wisdom from Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Guru Nanak and Yogi Bhajan.” Markus Sieber and Angelika Baumbach wish that their “music could be like the Ceiba tree, with roots deep in Mother Earth and branches extending far and wide into Father Sky.”
Next up is Simon Park. His concept of “free-style Vinyasa” encourages you to be intuitive, fluid, and have the freedom of self-expression. To me, this sounds very daunting, so this will be an exercise in flexibility (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!). Simon has many influences from Shiva Rea to Dharma Mitra, and it is from these different influences that Liquid Flow Yoga was created, which is described as “a mix of classical and modern Yoga.”
After so many inversions, nothing sounds better then Mirjam Wagner’s yin class. Wagner is a passionate and experienced Osteopath & Yoga Teacher from Switzerland, who found her true passion in the quiet practice of Yin Yoga & Yoga Therapy. BYC advertises that with her “scientific understanding of the human body” paired with a “healing and spiritual approach by integrating Meditation, Mindfulness, Chinese Medicine, Buddhism & A Course in Miracles…Mirjam’s profound knowledge and passion for the human body and its close relationship to emotional and mental patterns make her a very caring and inspiring teacher who guides you into a deeper connection to yourself and others.”
And if a yin class doesn’t do the trick, then be sure to check out Sebastian Bartu and his Neuro Somatic Reprogramming class. Sebastian“is a Swiss-trained Osteopath, Psychologist and Yoga teacher who has spent the last 10 years teaching in over 25 countries his own founded method of neurological empowerment and self-pain release: The Bartu Method® - Neuro Somatic Reprogramming. This unique method integrates powerful techniques of Osteopathy, Psychology, Yoga, Mindfulness and Mix Martial Arts and enables people to unblock their physical, mental and emotional structures to meet the highest version of themselves.”
I’ve shared with you why I am going to the 9TH Barcelona Yoga Conference. Now, aside from the fabulous healing yoga classes, let me share with you a few more reasons why you should attend this amazing event. Here’s what you might consider: Pack an empty suitcase and shop at one of the vendors located in the BYC Village. Beautiful attire can be purchased at Bindu Spiritual Fashions and Yoga Zero, and you can shop for the entire family (grandma too!) at Tribule. Decadent adornments for the body will be available at Spiral Spirit Jewelsand Aumjoia.
“It’s important to share the practice of yoga as a family,” a wise woman (my boyfriend’s mother) once said to me. BYC is certainly living up to that truth. Childcare will be provided by a team of passionate yogis with an educational background in children’s programming. This service is completely FREE for children over the age of 7. Activities (such as yoga, dance, fun games, and arts & crafts) will vary depending on the child’s preference.
Now, pack that bag (sit on it if you have to) and meet me in Barcelona so we can move our minds and our bodies. Don’t be afraid because the Barcelona Yoga Conference wants us all to know that “yoga is for everybody, and every body!”
To learn more and get your tickets, visit: www.barcelonayogaconference.cat.