Barcelona Yoga Conference: Stay Magic
By Jen Schuler
Three weeks later and I still haven’t fully unpacked. It’s become my own small way of prolonging the trip. With every piece of clothing I slowly put away, every memento I find a home for, and as all the aspects of my life return to normal I try to remember the messages I learned at the Barcelona Yoga Conference. The thought that keeps reverberating inside me, my soul-souvenir, is to remember to “Stay Magic” in every aspect of my life.
Therefore, as I settle back into my everyday routine, I will strive to embark on a mission to live each day with the words from the remarkable teaches and instructors that I had the privilege of experiencing at the 9th annual Barcelona Yoga Conference (BYC). From the soulful sounds of Mirabai Ceiba, Simone Park’s energetic flow, Patrick Broome’s message that yoga is for everyone and Bryan Kest reminding us to stay focused on what yoga was originally intended for.
The community and environment the BYC created established a space for creativity and expression for everyone. Whether it was high power vinyasa, fun and challenging AcroYoga, relaxing Yin and Thai Massage or enchanting World Music there was something for every body and everybody. It was wonderful for me to see people filling their daily schedule up by taking one of the high powered Vinyasa classes from Simone Park and Yoshio Hana, healing with Thai Massage lessons with Carlos Romero or relaxing in the community village and listening to Manos and Cellomano while eating delicious local vegan cuisine from PastaxPasta and Kashaya Kombucha.
My experience mostly included a journey through classes focused on inclusivity and accessibility. As a relative “new comer” to this world of Yoga Festivals, I wanted to experience a feeling of being empowered not disappointed that I can’t put my foot behind my head. I was able to find this in Bryan Kest’s class. A Santa Monica based Yoga Instructor who coined “Power Yoga.” His class was made up of simple movements that helped me focus on deep breathing. His straight forward, no bull shit approach, amplified with smatterings of humor have stayed with me as I continually remember his profound messages. “No one ever fixed anything with lose ham strings,” he stated as we moved into Uttanasana or as he put it “bend over and touch your toes asana.” Uttanasana is a posture that Kest says is one of the most important: You never want to lose the ability to bend over and tie our shoes or pick up our children or grandchildren. His class was a constant reminder that yoga is a practice of the mind, it is not about postures, not about who is more flexible or how many followers you have on Instagram because you can do a handstand. From the beginning he wanted the class to understand that the postures are tools, a warm-up to what yoga really is. But that everyone can achieve the true harmony between the heart and the soul with a consistent honest yogic practice. Bryan Kest described power yoga as a practice that gives you power. It is what you do with that power that makes all the difference. If we focus our attention on making our minds a better place, then we can shift the perspective of the world.
As I step back into a daily routine, I will strive to live each day like the AcroYogies, challenging and trusting those around me. I will allow relaxation and healing like Thai Massage or a Yin Yoga class, and I will allow Power Yoga to make me powerful without self-judgment or criticism.
So, as I have finally put my suitcase away, I find myself counting down the days till my next yogic adventure. “Stay Magic” everyone!
We hope to see you next year, July 2-6 2020 at the 10th annual Barcelona Yoga Conference!