Yoga Journal San Diego conference recap

Hi guys! Hope you’re having a wonderful day <3 I’m still on my Zen yoga cloud from this weekend’s conference. Yoga Journal kindly invited me to attend, and I was thrilled to participate. Even though I’ve attended a few fitness conferences, this was my first yoga conference. Like fitness conferences, I always had the impression that you had to be an instructor to attend. Not the case! Many organizations will happily allow fitness enthusiasts to join in the fun. As someone who deeply enjoys yoga, I was excited to expand my practice, learn from some of the world’s best instructors, and be surrounded by those who also love the practice.

Yoga journal

Saturday, I had the opportunity to take the following classes:

1) Core Fusion Barre with Elisabeth Halfpapp. Since she is one of the pioneers of barre, I was ecstatic to finally meet her and learn from her. Elisabeth and her husband Fred Devito founded Exhale and the Core Fusion exercise series. I have and love a few of their DVDs, so I was pretty stoked to start the weekend off with this class. It was AMAZING, and especially valuable since I’m teaching regular barre classes now. Elisabeth had such a vibrant and kind energy. She walked around the room before class to introduce herself to everyone, kept the two-hour (TWO HOURS OF BARRE) class lighthearted, and shared valuable tips for form cues, exercises and technique. 

2) Take Flight: Get Grounded in Arm Balancing with Maty Ezraty. Dear me. This class was SO challenging, and not because we did a ton of crazy arm balances. I think we did maybe two, and spent most of the time working on poses that will make us stronger for the balancing poses. I really wanted to take this class because I tend to “muscle” my way into certain balances and postures. I want my practice to be more mindful and methodical, and she gave us some fantastic poses to build strength and properly align for various arm balances. I absolutely loved her personality. She was a funny little thing and even though she had us laughing and playful throughout the class, she also meant business. I would love to practice again with her one day. The only bummer about this class was that some of the poses killed my wrists, but I think that’s 100% due to the fact that I haven’t been practicing regularly.

Yoga journal2

3) Yin Yang Flow with Vinnie Marino. I figured by the end of the day I’d want a more relaxing, stretchy-kinda class, so I signed up for this one. I forgot how difficult it is to hold poses for so long (3-5 minutes per pose). I think it’s one of the most challenging aspects of yoga because you truly have to breathe into the stretch, quiet your monkey mind, and release. Afterwards, I felt glorious, and I also liked Vinnie’s teaching style. I’ll definitely seek out one of his classes next time I’m in LA.

4) Sunday, I took one class and it was really the only class I *needed.*: “Untying the Knots of the Heart: Healing Yoga and Meditation” with Saul David Raye. This was a guided gentle practice, with meditation, gentle movements, dancing and singing along to live music. I could definitely see how many could brush this off as “hippy dippy” kind of yoga, but it really spoke to my heart, and I loved the lessons and wisdom that Saul shared. I’d try to paraphrase it, but by doing so, I feel like I’d diminish it. The live music by Jim Beckwith made the experience even richer.

Here’s a video I found online of his music:


I walked out of the room completely energized, centered and relaxed. As someone who has struggled with meditation, I found this class extremely helpful, and actually have a method to use for at-home practice. 

The expo for the conference was also amazing, with lots of whole foods snacks, yoga gear, apparel,

Expo  1 of 1

accessories and decor.

Expo  1 of 1 2

Even though I was tempted by the sea of tie dye yoga pants, I treated myself to a new henna tattoo. 🙂 (Still want a real one!)

Henna tattoo

The Yoga Journal Conference was a transformational experience, and I found that the only downfall was that there were so many classes I’d like to attend happening at the same time! A good problem to have 🙂 While we were there, we attended a panel on Yoga and Body Image, which deserves a full post in itself. 

Have you attended any fitness conferences? Are there any fitness activities or workshops you’d love to attend?

See ya later today with a Summer Shape Up recap + lots of giveaway winners.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day <3



Something to do: This kettlebell circuit! It’s an effective combo of strength, core stabilization and cardio blasts.

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  1. Megan on July 14, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Are there any fitness activities or workshops you’d love to attend?

    I have never attended a fitness conference, but I sure would love to! Who wouldn’t want to spend their afternoons trying out new to them fitness classes?! I would enjoy attending a crossfit workshop because it is something I have never done but would absolutely love to try and see what it is all about! But a yoga workshop also seems amazing!

  2. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on July 14, 2014 at 8:09 am

    What a fun conference! I would have loved to have taken that barre class!

  3. Courtney Bentley on July 14, 2014 at 8:46 am

    WOW what a fun conference! I hope to attend some conferences one year but moving around to different countries has me held back in that realm! Looks so fun! all my love xo C

  4. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on July 14, 2014 at 8:47 am

    That sounds like a wonderful experience, I’d love to attend a yoga conference. I’ve been to Les Mills events before, but never a whole conference on fitness. I’m a trainer and a group fitness instructor, so clearly I’m due for one. Have a great Monday!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

      girl, you would LOVE IDEA. they have the les mills formats + some incredible specialty classes

  5. Masala Girl on July 14, 2014 at 9:02 am

    i’m hoping to attend fitbloggin in august, but it is sooo big! any good beginner conferences?

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

      i think fitbloggin is a great one! blog fest is also in august that is going to be amazing

  6. Lindsay on July 14, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Hey, Gina! I’m about to move into a new house with a huge garage, and I’m thinking about setting up my gym equipment in there. Do you use a particular mat that you like? (I saw these interlocking “puzzle” mats on Amazon) How do you keep cool out there? I live in NC so it’s obviously much hotter here than in SD. Any tips for setting up a home/garage gym would be much appreciated!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

      we used the interlocking mats from amazon- they work great. our garage has an AC unit, so we can turn it on to keep cool. i would just get one of those large fans (the kind that they have in many gyms) from costco! have fun setting it up 🙂 it’s so convenient to have to workout options at home

  7. Chelsea @ TableForOne on July 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I am loving your yoga pants! Where did you get them?

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

      thank you! they’re from onzie

  8. shaina on July 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

    that sounds like so much fun! I haven’t attended a fitness conference but would love to attend a yoga conference and IDEA!! I would die.

    • shaina on July 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

      that just reminded me to check when the next IDEA conference is and its in a month! Are you coming up?! I just got my expo pass but I’m going to assume I’ll be in no shape for the workouts 2 weeks pp haha.

      • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 10:23 am

        hahah probably not! it would be fun to go check out the expo though. i’ll be there- let me know if you’re planning to stop by!

        • Shaina on July 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

          I will!

  9. Laura @ She Eats Well on July 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I LOVE Vinnie Moreno – I took him at Wanderlust Squaw Valley a few years back and will never forget him. He taught a wicked Rock N’ Roll flow. His music is great and I loved how he was a big guy who rocked Birkenstocks ha – he’s got an amazing life story too! So glad you enjoyed the conference!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 11:19 am

      he taught rock n’ roll flow this weekend too. i should have checked it out! LOVED his music and would like to learn more about his life story too. he’s a great instructor

  10. Erin Motz on July 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Super curious about IDEA! I started teaching with pilates 12-ish years ago and was heavy in to fitness. Then I got totally obsessed with yoga in that same time and dropped most of the fitnessy stuff, but now am circling back around for more balance. Maybe IDEA is in my future! 😀

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 11:18 am

      DUDE. you HAVE to come to IDEA! then we can finally hang out 😉

  11. Valerie - Bubbles and Gold on July 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

    You didn’t partake in the sea of tie dye yoga pants?! Wow. That must have been a toughie 😉

    I just ordered my certification workbook from ACSM so hopefully I’ll be able to attend workshops in the near future! I really like HIIT workouts. Yoga is not my thing, as many times as I’ve tried to force it to be.

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 11:16 am

      i was very tempted haha

  12. Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite on July 14, 2014 at 11:38 am

    gahhh this conference sounds incredible. I only wish I lived closer to CA to attend all of the major fitness conferences!

  13. Cate on July 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

    HI Gina,
    That looks like so much fun!! Any chance you know who made the tie dye yoga pants??

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      i’m pretty sure they were hard tail

  14. Kara H. on July 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    That sounds like an amazing conference to attend. We actually have a few fitness conferences in Indy and I’m definitely attending one next time it comes around.

  15. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on July 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I attended SWEAT USA last year and actually took one of Jillian Michael’s classes. It was so much fun. I would love to attend IDEA FIT, but I don’t have the time or dinero this year. I would also love to attend a cycle conference, but I’m not sure if any exist.

  16. Britt@MyOwnBalance on July 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    That sounds like so much fun! Elisabeth’s class must have been amazing but I can’t imagine two hours of barre! Yikes!! I would love to take class with Chalene Johnson. Also, I don’t know if you have ever been or if they even have them in Cali but there are Super Saturdays for Les Mills instructors when the new releases come out. Even if you only teach Pump you can take the other classes. Sometimes the Program Director will be there and that is super fun!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      we’re having one this weekend, but i’ll be out of town!
      and chalene is fantastic. you should come to IDEA one of these years; i think you would love it 🙂

  17. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on July 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    This looks like a WONDERFUL conference! Glad you were able to attend 🙂

  18. Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. on July 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    This looks awesome!! I’m gearing up for BlogFest in two weeks and IDEA Fit in August. Should be fun!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      yay, i finally get to meet you! 🙂

  19. Tracy on July 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Good to know yoga conferences are open to non-instructors! I’ll keep my eye open for one…sounds like an amazing experience.

    I’m bummed SSU is over but I know you’ll keep up the great workouts for us 🙂

  20. Amber on July 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Strong willpower resisting those tye die pants…I would not have been able to! 😉

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      it was tough, but i made it happen haha

  21. Alex @ Kenzie Life on July 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Can’t wait for that Yoga and Body Image panel recap (if you’re going to do one)! When I was recovering from my eating disorder, one of the treatment centers I went to used yoga. It wasn’t that great there but after I got out of the hospital I joined a local studio and it did wonders for me in the early stages of my recovery!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      i am! it should be up wednesday– it’s taking me a little longer to write 🙂

  22. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on July 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Those capris! I have several of them…I want ALL the Hard Tail Forever crops (best ones imo)

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      they are gorg

  23. Amber conger on July 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Ahhh what an om-mazing experience! Also I did your barre burner-omg! Haha!

    • Fitnessista on July 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      haha! glad you liked it 🙂

  24. RachelG on July 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I have such a love/hate relationship with Yin Yoga. Once I’ve done it my body is super noodley and it feels like I’ve relaxed the tighter areas, but when I’m in the practice my mind tends to wander a lot and the poses feel awkward. I have to remind myself what I tell my meditation and yoga students…if something is painful, back off, but if it’s just uncomfortable see if you can find ease and comfort in it.

  25. Yaara Leve on July 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Great recap girlie!!! I’m so glad you loved Maty! I took from her several years ago–but I remember she was so knowledgeable about the body and the way poses impact the body. I’ve also always wanted to take with Vinnie Marino! I love how Yoga helped him with his addiction recovery.
    And I can’t wait to hear about the body image/yoga panel. I have lots of thoughts on the matter that have been brewing in my mind for a while now–so if you could make it an open discussion–I’d love it! There’s so much to be said now–with all the nude yoga advertising. I feel like because yoga has become so mainstream now–the fitness model stereotype has kind of taken over–which is really sad! Because what drew me to yoga in the first place was that it was non-judgmental and people weren’t supposed to care about what you looked like–it was all about being present inside your body. Anyway–I’d love to hear your thoughts and what the speaker talked about.

  26. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on July 14, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    That Core Fusion Barre sounds so great! Looks like fun! You know I’m looking forward to IDEA World!

  27. Nour @ GreenShushi on July 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Looove yoga conferences!! Glad you enjoyed it!

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