Yoga Journal Conference

The Yoga Journal Conference, held at the Crocus Expo Center in October, was dedicated to yoga and a healthy lifestyle.

Over the three days of the conference, yoga stars conducted over 30 master classes and attendees attended lectures dedicated to Ayurveda (East Indian folk medicine), new yoga trends and female energy. About 500 participants had an opportunity to expand their awareness and study under top Russian and foreign yoga specialists. This was the first such event on this scale to be held in Russia.

Yoga Journal gathered all of Russia's most experienced yoga instructors under one roof. Iyengar yoga was represented by Yelena Ulmasbayev, Konstantin Kovalev, Maria Shiffers and Sergei Mikhailov. Mikhail Konstantinov acquainted people with Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, Viktor Boiko taught classical yoga and yoga Nidra, Sergei Litau gave instruction in Kundalini yoga and Vladimir Ananyev gave classes in dynamic yoga. Also taking part in the conference were Ukrainian guests Anatoly Zenchenko (Ishvara yoga) and Andrei Sidersky (Yoga 23). India - the birthplace of yoga - was represented by Pravin Chandra, instructor of Hatha yoga, as well as Doctor of Ayurveda P.K Mohammed Ali.

Attending as special guests were Sharon Gannon and David Life, the husband and wife pair that founded Jivamukti Yoga, the most popular yoga school in the United States. Yoga instructors to Sting, they are renowned for their creative approach to yoga practices - asanas flow smoothly from one into the other, music plays during sessions, and students chant mantras without leaving their difficult yoga positions. Adrian Cox, founder of a Bangkok yoga studio, also presented Vinyasa practices linking asanas in sequence. In addition to Vinyasa, Cox spoke to participants about the five types of prana (energy), and how to become healthy by balancing them. Cox used the latest tools of the civilized world when speaking of the inner mystical fire: His Russian students were probably the first people to attend a yoga session that used a Power Point presentation. The lessons by the conference's foreign guests were so fascinating that their students did not leave even after the classes had finished. They stayed and asked questions about yoga and life.

Each participant at the conference could find a yoga practice to suit his or her tastes and learn something new. Dynamic lessons enlivened and activated static execution of yoga positions by employing reflection and subtle work with the body. In addition to asanas, participants learned about pranayama (breath control), meditation (concentration and calming of the mind), chanting mantras (awakening the voice) and Yoga Nidra - techniques for deep relaxation.

During those cold autumn Moscow days, conference participants were able to create a warm atmosphere of mutual understanding, friendship and peace. Now, when yoga is becoming increasingly popular, it is especially important to provide people with all of the available information about the latest developments in the practice, and to help them choose from among the manifold branches and schools flourishing on the ancient tree of yoga discipline.