A few of us from Harmony Yoga attended the Yoga from the Heartland Regional Iyengar Yoga Conference last week, September 15 -- 18. It was a great success!
I heard positive comments from the other Harmony Yoga people who attended, although one also said that "there can be too much yoga" (it was definitely a lot of yoga, and I do agree -- I actually "played hooky" during one class...).
The first scheduled event, after registration was the "Meet and Greet Reception" with upbeat music and chanting by the kirtan group Devi 2000 , along with stilt walker (and certified Iyengar Yoga teacher) Koren Paalman in a Ganesh costume, walking and swaying to the music and greeting people.
Later that evening, we walked to the Chicago Cultural Center to hear paraplegic certified Iyengar Yoga teacher Matthew Sanford give an inspirational keynote address about his personal experience with Iyengar yoga, followed by cellist (and certified Iyengar Yoga teacher from Ann Arbor) Alicia Rowe, accompanying film footage of B.K.S. Iyengar at different stages in his life.
You can read a summary of Matthew Sanford's speech on the well-written blog post Behold Yoga: Yoga from the Heartland (also see a photo of the author doing Sirsasana with the back drop of the beautiful Palmer House hotel ceiling).
If you haven't already, I strongly recommend that you find a copy of Matthew Sanford's book, Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, about his journey of recovery after the devastating car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down when he was 13, and his experience with Iyengar Yoga as a way to help him more fully live in his own body.
The yoga classes were well-taught by Senior teachers in the morning, and Junior teachers (including me) in the afternoon. I came away from each class that I took, both pranayama and asana classes, with gems that I can incorporate into my own practice, and into my teaching. As I mentioned above, I played hooky for one class -- the backbending class -- because I had gotten about 4 hours of sleep the night before, and figured I had no business taking a difficult level 3 backbending class with so little sleep! I missed a great class, but I also was able to refresh my batteries, so to speak, by taking a nap, then walking through Chicago's Millenium Park, and on down to the lake to take in the sun and the view of the water.
The conference ended with a pleasing Closing Event, including Yoga Poetry by Peggy Hong, and chanting led by Leslie Freyberg.