Did you attend the Yoga Teacher Conf in Denver, CO in April 2022?
If you did, then you know it was such a wonderful event! But if you missed it, I hope to give you a recap that makes it feel as though you were there too (and hopefully you can join me at the next one!).
>> There will be a Yoga Teacher Conf happening in September 2022 in Chicago if you're interested. You can find all the details here.
Event Details Recapped
3 day event
Hosted at the Hyatt Regency Conference Center
175 yoga teachers in attendance
40 diverse teachers/speakers
40+ sessions to choose from
Several vendors/supporters of yoga teachers
Hosted by Allison Rissel and her incredible team of support
Overall, I can say that everyone in attendance was INCREDIBLE! The hotel was filled with positive people and positive energy for 3 full days. No matter where you walked, you were greeted with smiles and welcoming words. Every single person was ready to connect, learn and engage with others. As you walked down the conference hall, everyone you passed smiled and said hello. This may not seem like a big deal to many but if you've been to many corporate events, this isn't always the case so it was a welcomed change for me.
Another highlight for me was the diversity in the speakers/teachers. This is something that I hope we all look for in events as we're able to start traveling again and Yoga Teacher Conf delivered in this area. I wish I had taken pictures with everyone to truly show this but it was clear that diversity was an important component of the event. You can see the speaker line up HERE on the Yoga Teacher Conf website.
Allison and her team were present and ready to help every step of the way during the event. As a speaker, I felt very taken care of and appreciated. From the pre-event prep and communications to the at-event check-ins, everything was attended to. And as an attendee, this was felt as well. I was very cared for during this event and it was clear that the culture of the event was positive, inclusive and diverse - everything I'd hope for in an event.
I met Thrivers!!!!!!!
My membership, Thrive, is filled with yoga teachers from around the world and it's incredible that I get to say those words. I love that I can work with people that don't live in the same part of the world as me. It allows me to help more people and it's really neat to see how yoga is being shared all around.
But with that awesomeness, comes some disconnectedness since we can't all get together. While I didn't get to meet all the Thrivers in real life (that's a new dream of mine now!) I did get to meet a few and it was such a life-changing moment. To get to connect with yoga teachers I've worked with for YEARS and actually hug them in real life was so precious to me.
I remembered that love meeting people in person!
While I absolutely love that I have the opportunity to work and learn online, it's no denying that I love, love, love being around people. This was my first event in several years, like most of us, and it was remarkable to be able to meet people in real life at this event.
To be able to hug and thank those people who came up to me and said "I listen to your podcast all the time". OMG! This was everything for me! One morning I was going downstairs and I stepped into the elevator and said "good morning" and the amazing woman who was in the elevator stopped for a minute and then said "you're Amanda McKinney. I listen to your podcast all the time". I immediately thanked her for this and said "let's take a picture together". This! This is what it was all about for me! Meeting people in real life that I've worked with or connected with in some way online. What a treat it was for me to have so many of these moments!
A special thank you goes out to everyone who stopped and talked with me at the event. It meant the world to me!
I connected with friends I've known for a while and new friends too!
I witnessed "lightbulb moments" and was able to celebrate in real life!
There were many of these moments but only one was captured. But over and over again during the event I would say "you don't have to do that" when someone would apologize or start to feel bad about not doing something from a marketing perspective (ex: using Instagram stories or Facebook, etc).
I found myself saying "you know you don't have to do that, right?" many times. And this moment was a true ah-ha moment that I will likely remember forever. Heather Lynn asked about using Facebook and mentioned that it felt 'icky' to her. My response "Delete your facebook page and stop using it". The relief I saw in her face in that moment will be with me forever. I encouraged her to delete it and to let me know when she did. Within an hour, Heather Lynn and I took this picture together (after I jumped and danced of course!).
And I'm still smiling about this story as I type it in this blog post now.
I was challenged in a great way!
One night we had a speakers/sponsor dinner and I was lucky enough to be at a table that contained a fantastic conversation. I met Ravi who was speaking the next day on Equity FOR Yoga which blew me away. He presented on a tough topic and did so eloquently and with compassion. He shared a little about this topic when we were having dinner together and I couldn't wait to hear more the next day.
Overall, Ravi challenged a lot about the yoga industry in the West and how we can show more honor to the tradition of yoga as teachers. I'm still in conversation with Ravi and am hoping to have him as a guest on my podcast very soon. He has a lot of great information to share and I hope to elevate his voice on this topic.
Thank you Ravi for all you shared!
I connected with a business partner - BeYogi - & was even more impressed!
BeYogi has been a partner of mine for several years now and I've always enjoyed working with them. At the beginning of the pandemic I was receiving a lot of insurance-related questions that I didn't have the answer to so I needed to find a company that did. I reached out to several insurance companies and BeYogi was willing to not only help me answer the questions but was willing to jump on a Facebook Live and take even more questions. From that moment on, I have worked with them.
But they truly blew me away with how they showed up to support yoga teachers at this event. Not only were they a sponsor but they were set up early and stayed all the way through the closing ceremony. If you haven't been to a lot of events like this, that might sound silly to mention but most vendors/sponsors pack up and leave as soon as possible (understandingly as they want to get home to their families) but BeYogi stayed all the way through and even offered to help as the event staff was packing up. THIS! This my friend, is the mark of a good company because they hired the right people. Joe and Lizzy are the best and I'm so grateful to say that I partner with BeYogi.
>> If you're looking for insurance (or so many other perks!) please check out BeYogi here on my website and get a special discount!
I met a new friend, Jennie, who inspired me!
At the event, there were a few podcasters and we shared a table so we could meet everyone and talk about podcast things. So fun! And our podcast table happened to be next to an AMAZING woman named Jennie.
Jennie owns Vista Celestial, a boutique hotel and retreat center in Costa Rica. And let me tell you, you want to check this place out! I'm in conversation now about visiting her hotel to scope it out for a possible business-planning retreat!!!!! How cool would that be?! Shannon Crow and I have been talking about this for years now and we think we've found the place and the person to help us make it happen!
Do yourself a favor and check out Vista Celestial to visit OR to host your own yoga retreat! The options Jennie has put together for yoga teachers is AMAZING! Here's a picture of me, Shannon and our new friend, Jennie!
I was able to teach with Shannon again
Shannon Crow and I have been friends for many years now but we've only been able to see each other in real life ONCE before this event! To be able to spend time with her and actually teach with her again was such a treat. I adore her and miss her already. It was also really neat to see her teach about pelvic health. I only see her teach on the topic of business since we do that together and it was fun to see her teach her true passion. This is the power of niching down and I saw it in real life.
What I Learned
Cooling towels and pens were a hit!
I brought pens and pink cooling towels as gifts for people who I met or who attended any of my presentations and they were a hit! Yay! These pink cooling towels have saved me over the past few summers since I've had them and I'm glad I was finally able to give them out at this event. So if you're looking for a fun gift if you attend an event like this, they are great!
I found what I LOVE to speak about
After years of blogging and podcasting and speaking, I had a moment where it all came together and that moment was during my Sunday presentation at this event. While I can teach about "how to use Instagram" or "creating an email sequence" or "what you need on your website", this isn't what I'm actually passionate about.
Yes, I do like teaching about marketing but the passion that I have is for something different.
My passion truly comes through when I share more motivational words. If you attended my presentation on Sunday at Yoga Teacher Conf you know this already but if you weren't there, here's the overall concept of what I talked about...
In order to Create Your Thriving Yoga Business you need a few things:
To know what "thriving" means to you (not others)
A realistic view of entrepreneurship
An understanding of how marketing can help you
And how to market your business authentically for you
It was through this presentation that I found my rhythm. I'm sure I will continue to make progress on this over time and I don't think it was "perfect" but I know in my heart that this is what I want to continue talking about. And what I hope you hear in my words is that you can do this too but it will take time and continuous learning. I didn't wait until I had the perfect presentation to then ask to speak. I've written blog posts, I've been a speaker/teacher many times over the past few years. Each time I learned a little more about myself and how I best show up. And it really clicked for me this time around.
To everyone who sat in the room on Sunday for the Create Your Thriving Yoga Business presentation: Thank You. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing up and listening. It was a moment I'll never forget.
I want to do more of this...but not too much
I really enjoyed attending and speaking at this event so much so that I've got a new goal to attend (and hopefully speak) at a few events each year. I'm thinking 1 per quarter would be great.
If you don't know this about me, I used to travel A LOT when I was in the corporate world and I enjoyed it during that season of my life but I'm not in that season anymore. So while I love doing this, I've decided to make it a priority to attend a few (2 to 4) events per year so I can connect with more yoga teachers and businesses but also honor the part of me that loves to stay home too.
Speaking of other events though...the next one I'm planning to attend is the Yoga Teacher Conf that's happening in September 2022 in Chicago! It's focus is EMPOWER and I can't wait to see this event come to life! Fingers crossed I'll be a speaker at that event too but even if I can't speak at the event, my plan is to attend and support all yoga teachers who are able to attend that event! Below is a link if you'd like to check it out. I hope to see you there!