victoria yoga conference: a recap

Today, I want to recap some of the amazing experiences I had at the Victoria Yoga Conference. Much love to Carolyne Taylor and the wonderful crew of volunteers who made it all happen!


my bag packed - conference badge, yogadopa handouts, moleskin, and snacks!

my bag packed – conference badge, yogadopa handouts, moleskin, and snacks!

welcome to the Victoria Yoga Conference!

welcome to the Victoria Yoga Conference!

Friday night started with inspiring stories of extraordinary living!


I did a great session on shoulder stability from Fiji McAlpine; I learned a new way of approaching the downdog-chaturanga-updog-downdog sequence that requires more strength but less strain on the shoulders and low back (which is always good!!) and a few new shoulder stretches (which I so desperately need!)

I followed that up with deep back bending with Suzanne Faith Slocum Gori … and did some great partner assists that brought my foot to my head in full Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (or one-legged king pigeon… yes!). Some really deep chest opening is a great way to start the day!


the view from my mat.

My Yogadopa: yoga for people living with Parkinson’s disease session went really well and I had a great diverse group of yoga therapist, yogi with PD, interested yogi, healthcare worker, yoga teacher and caregiver. We did a general overview of Parkinson’s, some of the symptoms and specific yoga poses that can address the rigidity, bradykinesia, weakness, asymmetry and fatigue.

Rachel Scott did an amazing job of summarizing a trillion years (ok, I exaggerate!) of yoga history in 75-minutes… I can really geek out on vedic history, the upanishads and the bhagavad gita. And Madhuri offered a wonderfully grounding Ayuvedic yoga practice for the winter (vata) season.

setting up to release our psoas.

setting up to release our psoas.

I learned a lot about releasing the psoas from Jules Payne (Ajna yoga) and that by keeping our hip flexors/groin relaxed and “supple”, we increase parasympathetic activation and reducing our stress response. It felt so good to work on relaxing the front of our hips (modern stressors – i.e. sitting, driving keeps them so tight!) through some great releases (slow-mo ball rolling with our pelvis and spiky ball rolling of our feet – amazing!), box squats and alternate limb super mans (to build gluteus max) and legs-up-the-wall pose with some resistance.  This is one session I may have to blog about more… because who doesn’t love the psoas?!

Finally, Ryan Leier (from One Yoga) led a morning Ashtanga class with a twist … and offered some great teachings from P. Jois – reminding us that our physical practice needs to be grounded in the yoga sutras, yamas (right/ethical livings), niyamas (restraints/observances) and breath.

yogis setting up for the morning "ashtanga with a twist"

yogis setting up for the morning “ashtanga with a twist”

It was an incredibly FULL weekend, in all senses of the word. Much gratitude to the yoga community in Victoria (and those yogis who travelled to be here). much love.

Also, see CHEK news coverage  of the conference (and a mention of my workshop at 00:45!)

7 thoughts on “victoria yoga conference: a recap

  1. jdawes1969

    Hi Kaitlyn

    My wife and I will be in Victoria from March 19 to April 19. Would be interested in getting some information about beginner level private and/or group Yoga for Parkinson’s sessions while we are there. My wife might also be interested. I am 67 years old.

    I have been following your blog for awhile. I was diagnosed with PD in Janaury 2012. Since then I have used social media to follow various sources of information.

    We live in Regina. For the past 2 years I joined an Exercise program that was set up by an Exercise Therapist with support of the Parkinson Society of Saskatchewan. There are two groups with sessions 2 days a week. This year I joined both groups so I can exercise 4 days a week.

    John and Valerie Dawes Regina, SK 306-584-3267

  2. meandpd

    Hi Kaitlyn,

    Well, sorry I missed the yoga conference – sounds like it was awesome!

    Are you aware of some good poses that address poor posture for PwPs? – that’s me, I really slump over despite my best efforts to “stand up straight”

    btw, if ever you’re in the bay area (San Francisco) – let us know. My daughter is a certified yoga teacher and is now back at UC Berkeley getting her MBA. She still teaches part time to other students…

    best, Brian

    On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 4:57 AM, Kaitlyn Roland

    1. kaitlynroland

      Hi Brian
      Here’s a post dedicated to “stooped posture” in PD:

      Gentle heart openers are great for stooped posture, like fish and bridge pose (bonus *bridge works your leg extensors which are often weak in PD)… see here
      … and any other exercise that helps strength back extensor muscle.

      Hope that helps… please keep in touch! K


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