Aside: The following is a repost from my entry earlier this evening on the Yoga Journal Conference blog.
* * *
I’m sharing a room this weekend with a woman who responded to my post on the YJ conference site last month. Loretta (from Louisiana) first contacted me through the message board, then called, and we hit it off immediately. Like old high school friends who had just reconnected in time for the big reunion, we’ve exchanged several excited emails and phone calls in preparation for the conference. San Francisco will be her first Yoga Journal gathering, so I wasn’t surprised when she called to ask me what to bring.
Packing for your first conference can be a bit stressful. It’s a new environment. You don’t want to be unprepared, but you also don’t want to over pack either. This makes for a challenging dilemma. First, there’s all those gear decisions: Should I bring my own props? Can I take pictures during the classes? What stuff should I take to the sessions? And how will I carry it all around?
Then you move into your closet and the stress really begins to mount: How many yoga outfits do I REALLY need? Will I change between sessions or hang out all day in the same giddy-up? And what do people wear for the “off-the-mat” functions?
So with one whole Yoga Journal conference under my belt (or should that be “under my yoga strap”), I’ll offer some of my experienced sage yogic advice.
The Gear — Less is More
Props: Bring what you absolutely must have. With these kinds of numbers, nothing is supplied, of course. If you don’t REALLY need it, don’t bring it. Caveat: Check the program for any class requests. (Eg. in the notes for Judith Lasater’s Practicing Yoga to Save Your Knees, participants are asked to bring a strap and a tennis ball.) Besides the marketplace has all sorts of goodies for sale if you’re really in a pinch.
Cameras — Most presenters seem comfortable with folks taking photographs. If you’re unsure, ask. There’s nothing like a photographic record.
What to Take to Class — Always good to have a notebook and pen, maybe a water bottle; Space considerations may come into play so just use common sense about how much stuff you have around your mat;
How will I Carry It Around: Good to have some sort of mat bag or sling with something for your room key, phone or camera, and of course, credit card for shopping after class. There are all sorts of bags with in a range of prices. Stay tuned for my great economical mat bag idea in an upcoming post.
Moving on to the important stuff — The Clothes
Not sure how San Francisco will compare to Estes Park, but there I was struck by the immense range of yoga “looks” — from the earthy crunchy granola au natural organic cotton to the LA glitz and glitter with a little bit of everything in between. Bottom line: Wear what you like to wear for your yoga practice. (By the way, did I mention there’s a MARKET PLACE just in case you need to pick a little top or two?)
Finally, unless you tend to sweat profusely (and I’m not naming any names from back home), most folks don’t change outfits during the day. One a day should be plenty (with an extra shirt thrown in just in case you spill some Chai tea on yourself. Remember: Less is more, less is more. Unless there’s chai!
The off-the-mat “looks” range as greatly as those on the mat — from leggings and sweaters to jeans and t-shirts. Again, wear what you’re comfortable in, just add lipstick (or whatever). San Francisco is sporting some great weather right now, but I’m told it can get chilly down on the wharf in the evening. A jacket or light coat may be in order. Whatever you do, don’t forget the jewelry, and if you do, there’s always the MARKET place!
All in all, don’t pack too much, keep it simple and have I mentioned? Less is more. After hauling my big old suitcase across the San Francisco airport, onto the BART, and up to the 10th floor of the Hyatt, I feel especially qualified to make that last suggestion.
Up Next — Pammy’s Mat Bag Idea: Saving Money in these Tough Economic Times and still look stylish at the Studio!