Yoga Journal LIVE: San Diego Recap

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful afternoon. So glad you’re stoked for Week 3 of Summer Shape Up! Even though my teaching schedule makes it difficult to follow along all of the workouts, I’ve been adding the meal ideas into our own plan. 

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to learn and practice from some huge names in the yoga community, and also be surrounded by fellow yoga-loving friends from all over the world. It was the Yoga Journal LIVE conference, and was held at the beautiful historic Hotel Del Coronado.  

Yoga journal sd

The venue was an ideal space for the event, as it had multiple ballroom areas and conference halls, the beach (for beach classes and SUP yoga), dining and shopping nearby, and a large ballroom for the marketplace. Expos have a magical way of sucking me in, and I spent a lot of free time this weekend meandering around the booths, trying new products and chatting with brand reps. 

Acro yoga

(Where acro yoga right in the middle of the chaos is totally normal. Also, sadly there were no henna tattoo artists this year, so the belly is bare. I will definitely be getting it tattooed before the beeb makes her arrival.)

While I could spend the entire week recapping my experience with the conference itself, I thought I’d narrow it down to a few of the sessions that were particularly meaningful and transformative for me.

#1: I have to gush about Seane Corn. I had heard quite a bit about her, especially after she was unable to attend last year’s conference, and knew I’d love to take a class from her eventually. Official girl crush has taken over. She speaks in a very captivating, relatable and REAL way and had so much knowledge to share. I felt like I couldn’t write things down fast enough. You know the phrase “I could listen to him/her talk all day?” Well, I did. And when it was over, we all wanted her to keep going. If you have the opportunity to take one of her classes or attend a retreat, I highly, highly recommend it.

Yoga journal sd 2

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending two of her sessions: Finding Your Unique Voice as a Teacher (an all-day pre-session course), and Yoga for Every Body. The first one was an all-day session, and I was eager to learn techniques and strategies for leading my classes. I feel like over time, especially if you teach the same formats, it’s easy to become complacent as an instructor. You say the same things, you use the same cues, and can potentially lose some of the magic and intention that initially attracted students to your classes. This is a huge reason why I try to attend conferences regularly and keep up with CECs; I like to get out of my teaching box and get new ideas so my students can always feel inspired, and I always have something new to give them. I ended up taking notes and notes, but here are some of my main takeaways from the session:

-Don’t be afraid to tell your story. While no one wants to hear the nitty bitty during a yoga class, don’t be afraid to open up and let your true authentic self shine

 -A flow doesn’t have to be “razzle dazzle” to make a huge impact. Sometimes the simplicity of a flow can heighten the experience. Go for substance over flash, and stability over instability.

-During backbends, sit down or crouch so you’re not towering over everyone.

-Chakras send prana (life force) to different parts of the body. If a chakra is blocked, this can cause tightness or discomfort.

-Book recommendations: 

“The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”

“Eastern Body, Western Mind”

“Wheels of Life”

“Anatomy of the Spirit”

and “Subtle Body.”

Yoga yournal sd3

In Yoga For Every Body, we learned methods to instruct classes with a variety levels between the participants. You want to guide the person who’s popping into handstand every four seconds, but you also want Joe in the corner, who can’t touch his toes, to feel like he got the same value and benefits from his practice. She led us through a juicy, restorative flow, progressing the exercises as we went along and using intentional phrasing and cueing techniques. One of her strategies that I’ll be sure to use from now on is to cue from the ground up. Start with form cues using whatever is touching the floor and build up from there, because if the base is out of alignment it can throw the entire skeletal system off. 

Beach Bhakti Flow with Eric Paskel: I was immediately drawn to this class, as Bhakti yoga is where my heart is. I’ve found that the practices and mindsets that touch me the in the deepest way have roots in Bhakti ideals. Bhatki relates to love and devotion, and under this falls kirtan (singing and chanting), which is one of my favorite aspects of yoga. Also, it was on the beach, and I love practicing yoga near the ocean.


As I walked into the sand and unrolled my mat, I was really looking forward to this practice. The waves crashed nearby, we had live music, and there was a light cloud cover with a cool breeze. The breeze became full-blown wind, and the light cloud cover quickly turned to rain.. so sand + rain = mud, which added an interesting twist to the practice. As someone who is super weird about having sand and mud on their hands (I think it’s because of my contacts and I’m always freaked out about getting sand in my eyes), I have to admit that I considered leaving a few times. However, I stuck with it and was so glad I did. When we were in savasana, I was thankful for staying with something that was a bit outside my comfort zone, as that’s how growth occurs. If you allow external factors to affect you, you’re not truly practicing yoga. 

As the instructor said, “If all we need to worry about is a little rain on the beach.. we’re doing ok.” SO so true. 

I also loved how he explained that yoga isn’t external; you can’t look at someone and tell if they’re really practicing yoga. If the intention isn’t there, it’s not yoga. It’s like doing someone kind for someone, but being stressed/annoyed/impatient about that act of kindness. The intention isn’t there.

He ends class with singing and guitar, and his daughter (who will sometimes sing with him) has an absolutely gorgeous voice.

Eric paskel

Over the course of the conference, I practiced a LOT of yoga, and each class was so very different from the one before. I learned about inversions (since I can’t participate in these, it was helpful to watch), adjustments, and how to set up a balanced practice. Each instructor was so different, and I love the versatility they have each year with the session content and instructors. As a yoga student,  you can just pick up little bits of information from each instructor you have the opportunity to learn from. 

Do you practice yoga? What’s something that you’ve learned from one of your favorite instructors? Did you ever have a yoga class (or any fitness class) in less-than-ideal situations?

Here is my post from last year, as well as a discussion post about fitness, yoga, and body image

Hope you have a lovely night!



Thank you so much to Yoga Journal for the opportunity to attend! <3

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  1. Yoga Journal sounds so interesting! THe expo is always what draws me in too 😀
    my type of yoga is powerrrr, so that’s why i levitate towards, but it would be so cool to try out many different forms of yoga

  2. What a cool event! I really enjoy vinaysa or hatha yoga classes. I have to really be in the mood for heat for bikram.

  3. What an awesome conference! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Jaime M says:

    I am so impressed you can balance like that, with that cute belly!

  5. I wish I could’ve gone to that! Next year!

  6. This conference looks amazing! I don’t do yoga nearly as often as I’d like, so this is a great reminder to get back into it.

  7. This sounds amazing !! Would love to attend one year. Also, I love Sean Corne !! I was just wondering why you can’t partake in inversions ? I had always heard that if the mama is comfortable with them, they are excellent for the baby. As a yogi and yoga teacher always looking to hear other sides to arguments 🙂

  8. I began practicing yoga regularly about 5 years ago when I lived in South Korea. I found a great studio close to the school that I was teaching at and despite the language barrier, they welcomed me in with open arms. I immediately fell in love with all things yoga. What I learned from that experience is how words and language are important, but not necessary to succeed in yoga….I had no idea what the teachers were saying, about 85% of the time, but that in no way affected my practice. I love how yoga can be a cross-cultural experience and everyone can just meet each other on the mat and practice together.

  9. Thank you for sharing this line:

    ‘If you allow external factors to affect you, you’re not truly practicing yoga.’

    A few weeks ago I took a yoga class where there seemed to be distraction after distraction (everything from several people coming in up to 20 minutes late, someone encroaching on my personal space for no reason at all, someone loudly wiping their mat in the middle of class, to people talking during class). It was crazy, and I was a little annoyed that the instructor didn’t do anything to curb this behavior, but the class itself was exactly the type of class I love, and what bothered me most was that I LET those distractions get to me. I need to work on getting the most out of my practice no matter what’s going on around me. 🙂

  10. RachelG says:

    Sean Corne led a class at the first Newtown Yoga Festival in CT a few years ago…she was amazing. 🙂

  11. Seriously, what an amazing experience to have right in the middle of your yoga teacher training! You are so lucky to live in the fitness capital of the world (lol, what I think anyways) so you can soak in all these amazing expos and conferences. Many of your takeaways reinforce the teachings from my own YTT program, which brings me right back there and makes me miss having those enlightening moments on the reg. So glad you got to attend this event! I would love to go to one.

  12. Yesterday was a less-than-ideal yoga class for me. I went to a Bikram class and the room was close to 115 degrees! I was only my second class at this studio and I probably spent 1/3 of it in savasana. It was a bit frustrating, but I am gonna keep going back. Generally, Power Yoga is my favorite go-to!

  13. I’ve been practicing yoga since 2001. Eric Pascal was one of my first teachers!! His first Yoga Shelter (in West Bloomfield, MI) is my home studio. Among valuable nuggets of yoga advice I’ve learned is that “you aren’t broken, and you don’t need fixing.”

  14. Looks like a lovely time!

    The instructor can TOTALLY make the class 🙂

  15. Oh my goodness I am so jealous that you got to attend! I would love to go sometime! I started practicing hot yoga, and hot yoga with weights religiously each week at least 3 times a week about 4 years ago. When I first started I was bothered by the people near me, the close quarters, the fact that you are 2 inches from other dripping wet smelly people, etc. After a few weeks, I learned to focus inward. I started thinking about how I felt and how my body was changing. I focused on quieting my thoughts, and being introspective. I also started to pick and choose my instructors based on the vibe of their classes, and their music.

  16. Love the recap, this reminds me i need to get back into taking yoga:) Was Amy Caldwell from Yoga One Studio in SD there? How fun to be able to meet/take classes from the veterans. Good luck with your training!

  17. I actually prefer the flows that are less razzle-dazzle!

  18. Oh I loved this so much, Gina!! As I’m going through YTT myself, this is so interesting and helpful. We actually talked about several of these topics this last weekend and this morning. I’ also looking up Seane Corn!! I’d love to go to this conference some day. Thanks for sharing some of your experience!

  19. This sounds like such a fun event! I haven’t practiced yoga in a few years but I’m feeling a bit of a calling to get back to it. We’ll see what happens 🙂

  20. I need more yoga in my life! I think after the summer craziness has died down I may try to get into a practice in town.

  21. Hi Gina! When Yoga Journal LIVE was in San Francisco, I only went for half a day, but wished I had attended so many more sessions. I love thinking of yoga as “external” as you said above, because that’s so true. I’ve gone from hating yoga, to doing it once a week at home these days. I used to try new studios all the time but have slowed down with that. I miss hot yoga. I would say CorePower Yoga is one of my favorites, although I know it’s not as authentic as some people in the yoga community would like. How cool you did beach yoga! What a wonderful experience for you! 🙂

  22. Melissa says:

    I bet the class with Eric Paskel was awesome! I had the privilege of taking a class at his LA studio (Yoga Shelter) and have followed along with some of his remote “Yoga Rocks” classes and they really, really helped provide challenge and focus in a way I have not experienced before. I have been sporadic with my practice lately and am going to make a true effort to making a consistent effort to be more regular with it.

  23. I love yoga. I normally follow online instructors: Tara Stiles, Adriene Mischner (Find what Feels Good), and Erin Motz.

  24. Oh, that sounds like such a wonderful conference! I’ve been taking yoga classes at my gym (and on the road when I travel for work) for about 3 years. I am strong but sadly not very flexible. My favorite instructors are the ones that focus on what I can do with a pose and how to build from that place rather than focusing on what I am not doing (not yet able to do) at the moment. It is a subtle shift in perspective, but it makes a HUGE difference to me as a student. Yoga was really outside of my comfort zone when I first started, and I’ve grown to really appreciate it so much. And I am getting more flexible, just at a very slow pace 🙂

  25. My usual Pilates class was subbed by a great yoga teacher and she started our class with a great intention that just hit home today. It’s funny how sometimes yoga just finds you and the intention matches your need/mood exactly.

  26. Christine says:

    Do you have a prenatal yoga video you would recommend to prepare for labor and childbirth? I’ve been searching for a good one! Thanks!

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