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Yoga Journal Events: 20 Years, 20 Memories

As we celebrate the magazine’s 40th anniversary, we’re also commemorating 20 years of unforgettable YJ events. Take a look back at 20 sweet memories.

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woman smiling, labcoat

As we celebrate the magazine’s 40th anniversary, we’re also commemorating 20 years of unforgettable Yoga Journal events. Take a look back at these 20 sweet memories from members of our YJ LIVE! family old and new.

Want to experience all the magic for yourself in person? Join us for a Yoga Journal LIVE! event near you. Next up: Join us in Estes Park, Colorado, Sept 27–Oct 4 (register here). This extra special event will feature our big 40th and 20th anniversary celebrations, a Game Changers immersion on yoga, transformation and social justice with Off the Mat, Into the World founders Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, and Suzanne Sterling, adventurous workshops on yoga-sport hybrids, and so much more in stunning the Rocky Mountains.

SEE ALSO Yoga Journal LIVE! San Francisco 2015 Event Highlights

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

Gurmukh Yoga Journal Live

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2000

“My most wonderful memory, which is so clear to this day, is when I closed the conference in Estes Park with Deva Premal & Miten with Manose. I did the 9-minute Kriya called “Give Yourself New Life.” The space was so clear. I was just being and participating in the closing as they sang, “Aad Guray Nameh.” That is an absolutely Golden Moment in my memory. All of us, all of the students, and everyone in the audience felt happy to be alive, to be together, and to be part of that life-changing experience.”

See alsoGurmukh Kaur Khalsa’s Playlist

Ana Forrest

Ana Forrest YJ LIVE_Boston2006

“At one of my Spirit Dance yoga demos at Yoga Journal, the audience was crying. In that moment I felt my heart open in such love and appreciation. That is a beautiful Yoga Journal memory.”

Ana Forrest is also celebrating 40 years teaching and evolving Forrest Yoga this year. For a taste of the experience, watch this video from YJ LIVE! Gravity Surfing with Ana Forrest

Seane Corn

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2002

My most memorable time was the first mini-conference I was ever invited to in San Francisco, alongside Rodney Yee, held at the Claremont Hotel. Shortly after, I landed my first magazine cover of Yoga Journal. I remember seeing John Abbott (publisher at the time) and Kathryn Arnold (editor in chief at the time) in my class and at once felt so honored and completely intimidated, praying I didn’t mess up. I was also secretly hoping that I would get invited back to Estes Park, which to me was the ultimate conference. It was a true symbol at that time of coming into your own as a yoga teacher. I have to admit I was thrilled when I got a phone call later that year inviting me back (and how I tried to act cool when I told her I would be honored to attend!).”

Join Corn for a very special immersion on yoga for social change at Yoga Journal LIVE! in Estes Park, Colorado, September 27–30.

Suzanne Sterling

yj live, trance dance

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2002

“My favorite YJ Live! event was a night in (I think) 2006 when myself, Shiva Rea, and DJ Dragonfly created a Trance Dance Kirtan Celebration. The room was packed with yogis sweating, singing, and dancing! The night was a sublime journey from soulful to ecstatic to deeply devotional that was participatory from beginning to end!”

 See also Unchain Your Melody

Sianna Sherman


YJ LIVE! presenter since 2003

“In my 20s, I went to my very first Yoga Journal conference. It was at Estes Park and it seemed like every outrageously gifted teacher I yearned to study with was present in one epic gathering. I had just returned from India and the YJ conference truly served to anchor my path as a teacher of yoga. It is an exquisite memory for me, because I met so many inspiring human beings who are still my friends to this very day. Oh, and a special shout out to the herds of elk crossing between the classes because they made a lasting impression on me too!”

See alsoSianna Sherman’s 3-Step Meditation to Inspire Intuition

Nicki Doane

yj live

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2004

“Being a part of the Ashtanga Yoga pre-conference up at Estes Park several years ago was incredible. I got to share my love of Ashtanga Yoga and Pattabhi Jois with some amazing teachers, including Richard Freeman, Tim Miller, Eddie Modestini, David Swenson, Maty Ezraty, and Chuck Miller. The camaraderie was so wonderful, and even though we all have different teaching styles (as we all should), we worked together and honored our differences. It was fun and we laughed a lot and got to share old stories of Mysore and Guruji. I was the baby of the group and felt so honored to be teaching amongst these giants!”

Learn how to injury-proof your practice in Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini’s upcoming Vinyasa 101 course, covering the fundamentals of flow for students and teachers alike.

Desiree Rumbaugh

Desiree Rumbaugh

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2005

“My favorite YJ LIVE! event memory is from the 2006 San Francisco conference. That was where my relationship with my now husband, Andrew Rivin, began! He assisted me that weekend and we began dating after that. Then voilà! Here we are almost 10 years later, very happily married.”

See alsoDesiree Rumbaugh’s Favorite Green Smoothie

Marla Apt


YJ LIVE! presenter since 2005

“My favorite memory of a Yoga Journal LIVE! event was in Estes Park, Colorado, in 2005. It was B.K.S. Iyengar’s stated final trip to the United States, and in addition to teaching an intensive at the conference, he delivered the keynote address. He said that it is was his first time using notes for a lecture. In his talk, he shared the journey of his lifetime of yoga practice. He outlined how his approach, intentions, understanding and spiritual connection to the practice transformed over the course of more than 65 years of practicing yoga. It was inspiring and encouraging to see how steadfast faith and discipline can deliver us to a state beyond the limitations of our vision.”

Get Marla Apt’s lifelong practice in How to Adapt Asana for Every Age

Gary Kraftsow

Yoga Journal Live

“I was very happy at the Tantra pre-conference a few years ago in Estes Park, Colorado, I felt it was the deepest truly yogic conference yet! I remember the harmony of the presenters, the enthusiasm of the students, and the depth of the teachings that the students received.”

See also Meet the Innovators: Gary Kraftsow

Elena Brower

Yoga Journal LIVE Elena Brower

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2008

“I’ll never forget my first year as a student in the late nineties; my first class was with Rod Stryker, who’d later become my teacher. All I could think about was how slowly he was speaking, and how much I needed *precisely* that pace.

As a teacher, my favorite memory happened this year, while leading my full-day intensive in New York to a most receptive group of fellow teachers and learning as much about our magical practice as they did that day.”

Try Elena Brower’s 4-Step Practice to Define Your Dream

Bo Forbes

Bo Forbes

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2008

“In November of 2014, I broke my wrist in a car accident. I arrived at the Florida conference feeling a little vulnerable, but everyone at YJ was so caring and affirming. Far from being an obstruction, teaching with a cast gave me an added vulnerability that infused my classes with a sense of unity and common purpose.

This picture always evokes the memory of that weekend: all barriers seemed to dissolve: teacher and student, staff and presenter, me and “them.” There was just the yoga: alive and powerful and imperfect. And me in my Teekis with a hot pink cast.”

Take a peek at these highlights from Forbes’s Prana In the Belly workshop at YJ LIVE! San Francisco.

Amy Ipolliti


YJ LIVE! presenter since 2008

“I’ll never forget attending my first YJ event at Estes Park in 1998. A bunch of my yoga teacher friends from New York City flew out to Colorado and shared a bunkroom at the YMCA. We attended an all-day intensive with Richard Freeman who taught us the importance of hollowing the groins and widening the pelvic floor in Triangle Pose by having us literally reach behind to grab our sitting bone and pull it back. (Visual: 65 yogis in Triangle Pose with their hands in their butts, widening their pelvic floors!) Putting your hands in all kinds of strange places on the body in yoga is pretty commonplace now, but back then it was all so new and strange that we got a pretty big kick out of that moment in class. As you might imagine, the scene in the bunkroom later that evening was pretty ridiculous. I think we have photos somewhere of the 5 of us in our underwear lined up in a can-can line in triangle pose, manually widening our sitting bones in unison with tears streaming down our faces from laughing so hard. (Yeah, you had to be there).”

Try this practice from Ippoliti’s YJ LIVE! San Diego workshop 4 Smartphone Counterposes

Kathryn Budig

Kathryn Budig, YJ Live

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2010

“It was pretty epic when Michael Franti came in to give me a hug before one of my New York classes. I had on boots and I still didn’t even clear his armpits! That man gives a good bear hug—charged me with good vibes for the entire class.”

For a taste of the blast you’ll have in Budig’s YJ LIVE! workshops, check out Partner Work: Build Balance in Pincha Mayurasana

Eric Paskel

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2011

Having found the love of my life (fellow teacher Rina Jakubowicz) at the Florida conference in 2013, I could easily say that’s my favorite. But at the cost of her questioning why it’s not, I’m putting my favorite moment as this: The 2011 Wisconsin conference, being my first, was very exciting. I negotiated teaching one community class since I was invited to only teach at the Business of Yoga track. The first day at the conference I ran into my old friend Seane Corn who coincidentally was speaking with the Director of the conference. I introduced myself by getting down on one knee, grabbed her hand and recited a Shakespeare sonnet. The Sonnet ended with me requesting she attend my class. She reluctantly said she would come for five minutes if that! Right before I started she reminded me that I only get 5 minutes of her time. 1.5 hrs later she was still there! It was the beginning of a relationship that has surrounded me with so much love, that has provided me with an incredible education and left me with a big smile, oh, and a beautiful partner. Thanks Yoga Journal Live for continuing to save me!

See also Meet Eric Paskel and See How Yoga Rocks

Bhava Ram

tony felgueiras

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2012

“My favorite memory was gazing from the stage at YJ LIVE! San Diego during our Warriors for Healing event and seeing hundreds of veterans and yogis celebrating healing, wholeness, and selfless service together. One veteran shared they had not been out of their home for the past year given their emotional trauma, another wounded warrior said they felt like they were dancing inside of themselves for the first time since coming home from deployment. There were fully open hearts, tears of joy, smiles filled with hope, and a true sense of being together as one in the essence of yoga.”

Experience and share Ram’s teachings anytime with our Yoga Practice for Veterans series

Kino MacGregor


YJ LIVE! presenter since 2012

“On the Friday before the event (YJ LIVE! San Diego) I woke up early and unrolled my mat on the beautiful balcony at the Hotel Del Coronado. The gentle California sun and cool breeze set in the historic location made the practice so special. Later that day I filmed a series of videos with the Hotel Del in the background and the beach was absolutely beautiful!”

See also Kino MacGregor’s Sequence for Inner Strength

Tiffany Cruikshank

tiffany cruikshank

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2013

“So many incredible memories…as a whole I would say the sense of community is what stands out for me. We have a tendency to feel more and more separated in our lives and to take on so much that we feel that need to do it all. At some point it can leave us tired and uninspired. These moments, when we all come together and remember the importance of the community, is when we are reminded of our gratitude for the larger community and the inspiration and rejuvenation that comes from that.”

For a sample of Cruikshank’s all-day anatomy intensives, check out A Yogi’s Guide to the Shoulder Girdle

Gina Caputo

Kathryn Budig crowd surfing at Yoga Journal Live

YJ LIVE! presenter since 2014

At YJ LIVE! Estes Park 2014 I had the honor and privilege of co-teaching a Colorado flood relief benefit with Kathryn Budig. Not only was this a poignant and powerful opportunity for the people in our flood-stricken community to stand shoulder to shoulder and feel each other’s love, support, and mountain spirit but it culminated in a celebratory RISE UP dance party during which we crowd-surfed Kathryn! Unforgettable!

See also#FindYourInspiration: Kathryn Budig Interview with Yoga Teacher Gina Caputo

Danny Chapparo


YJ LIVE! presenter since 2014

“I have combined two of my passions, yoga and horses, and developed an Equestrian Yoga practice that allows us to truly be in union with the horses. Teaching in the beautiful setting of the Rocky Mountains (at the YJ LIVE! Estes Park event) was such a magical experience. Not only was the relationship and trust deepened with their horses, as we practiced our yoga poses in the saddle, and rode along narrow, steep trails, but with themselves as well. As the day started, you could see some tension and nervousness in several riders, which reflected in a faster pace of the horse. By the end of the day, it had changed into a relaxed rider, a trusting partnership with the horse, and unforgettable experiences. We all know that yoga is so much more than the asanas (poses) we practice, whether it’s in the saddle or on the mat. The horses are excellent teachers to help us discover ourselves!”

Experience the magic for yourself with Danny Chapparo in Estes Park or check out more Yoga + Horseback Riding Retreats

Leah Cullis


YJ LIVE! presenter since 2014

“My favorite memory of YJ LIVE! was during the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion in 2011. We premiered the Africa Yoga Project documentary Practice: Change. It was the first time that we shared a snapshot of a day in the life of an Africa Yoga Project teacher. In the film, Margaret shared her story of life before yoga on the streets of Nairobi, to now being a leader in her community and sharing the transformative practice of yoga.

The practice works. It works to create jobs in Africa, it works to connect to one’s own power, and it works as a practice unifying us across cultures. It works for Margaret, and she got to shine at YJ LIVE! sharing her story through the documentary and as a teacher and presenter. That’s my favorite memory that will always be alive in my heart.”

See alsoLeah Cullis’s Joyful Sequence