The 2016 Los Angeles Yoga Expo held this past Sunday, January 3rd was quite the experience!
Short version: I was happy to be there, exploring the LA yoga scene in new and interesting ways.
Long version: I arrived at the LA convention center, yes the gigantic super sized industrial dome after extensively circling the joint for parking. It’s strange this is where the YOGA is, I thought as I shuffled my way to the back of the line of Lululemon, “live, love, light” t-shirts and neon yoga mats bound to sports bra backs. It’s a strange vibe, mainly because it’s unclear where to enter and the giant space we’re in has bright fluorescent lighting and a crazy echo sound, making nervous systems even more nervous. The line to register (once I found it) is long. There are frightening echo-y sounds of women yelling “RELEASE!” and “AGGRRHH!” and I feel a strange combination of intrigue and FOMO.
As I take in the space while waiting in line, I think about this concept of BHAV. The Sanskrit word Bhav means Divine mood, or atmosphere that is imbued with sacredness. Here’s the technical definition: “Spiritual feeling or attitude; devotion; the religious attitude of immersing oneself in the thought of God.”
It’s nice to have an outer space that supports that, but shouldn’t I be evolved and frankly “spiritual” enough to create that inside me wherever I go? Why can’t I find bhav in fluorescent lighting and gray corporate carpet?
Thank you, Yoga Expo for my first yoga lesson of the day.
“RELEASE! LET IT GOOOO!” The instructor screamed, as I inched my way up the line. A lovely representative/volunteer/coordinator person helped me in and I intuitively made a bee line for the “marketplace” room, instead of the yoga classes upstairs.
The Marketplace was actually the best part. A hundred yoga vendors coming together to share and inform and sell yoga wares…I circled around a few times curious and open, feeling like a tourist in the Souk, marveling at flame colored yoga tights and the latest and greatest yoga props. I enjoyed the yoga studios representing, dharmayogacenter.com and Radha yoga (www.radhayogala.com), specifically. Loud gongs rang in my ear as I wandered around. I bought a mala from a sweet and lovely jeweler named Rana (www.rananader.com), sampled all the latest protein, kombucha, green juices available and enjoyed a spirited and original astrology reading from two kick ass ladies, Bess and Cara from www.mojaverising.com. The coolest mini-astrology reading I’ve had to date!
More circling around the market place, taking in all the vendors and delighting in all that was there to offer, I found a surprising amount of yoga + sex stuff happening. Yogasm, OneTaste (with a educational hands-on demo), and Tantra-Goddess yoga for couples all left me working out my own judgements and curiosity, as I vacillated between total repulsion and total intrigue. Is this yoga?
Yoga lesson Number 2 for the day: Don’t judge.
With that, I went upstairs for my first asana class.
I waited in more lines to finally squeeze into one of the small office rooms to practice. I realized quickly that there wouldn’t be enough room. We all crammed in, laying our yoga mats onto one another and avoiding smelly feet in faces whenever possible. The yoga class was a “core power vinyasa” class and I found the teacher to be down to earth and clear, but frankly it was just too crowded to do much beyond a child’s pose. Still, I thought at least people are getting a chance to practice yoga asana. At least we’re all breathing together. That’s something. I thought of all the other events held here, how the walls and floors must be bored with the usual corporate fare, and so the fact that we were all ‘doing’ yoga here together, creating BHAV if you will, was something.
I made my way back to the marketplace, enjoying the doTERRA essential oils wafting and said goodbye to my fellow yogi friends. I dumped the half eaten $16.75 dosa in the trash, dodged the newbie yoga guy with the selfie stick, stepped outside and finally…exhaled.
I loved the marketplace. I loved that this was a great opportunity for people to come together, experience yoga asana and the latest gear, and learn and grow.
This was a unique place for learning and sharing and growing because all of us are essentially looking for the same thing: Satsang (community), Joy, Connection, Love.
As I left the convention center with my new mala and new friends I realized the final yoga lesson for the day.
Yoga is everywhere you go.
Yoga is in every moment.
Yoga is the state of wanting nothing.
Yoga is touching on the experience of Oneness.
Yoga Expo (and everything else) offers that.
In every breath.
(Even in a downtown convention center)