Trying new things is something I like to encourage and I thought we’d talk about conferences.  This is for those who’ve never gone to one because of shyness or fear.  It’s time to pick one and just go.  Go by yourself or go with a friend or colleague, but go.  Don’t think, though that I’m the queen of conferences, I’m not.  I don’t go to a lot, and the first one that I went to I ended up by myself despite not planning it that way!  Here are 5 lessons learned attending a yoga conference in Florida.

When I first became a yoga teacher, I wanted to go to a yoga conference—-but I didn’t want to go by myself, especially since the one that I picked was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.   A friend, who was also a yoga teacher, agreed to join me and split hotel costs.  We went all in, booking the same beachfront hotel where the conference was being held and even scheduled to stay an extra day to enjoy the beach.

But two days before leaving, I found out she needed to cancel because of a family crisis.  I almost decided to cancel too, but the thought of going through the hassle of canceling the flights, the hotel, and the conference was even scarier than just going.  So I put on my big girl yoga pants and went to my first yoga conference–by myself.  I had fun, studied, practiced lots of yoga and also came away with some lessons about attending your first yoga conference.

Enjoy the Conference and Stop Calling Home 

I stayed in my room too much and called home to other friends too much.  I should have spent more time in the hallways and conference rooms enjoying all the vendors, chatting with other people and perhaps making new friends.  Instead, I hid in a group of people.  Don’t be me.  Take the opportunity to network, make new friends, and make work connections.  Perhaps there’s a collaboration in your future.

Don’t Tell People Where You’re From if it’s Notorious  

You can follow this rule or not, but at the time I was from a small town where a horrible crime was committed just a couple of months before the conference.  It was splashed across the national and world news.  When I told people where I was from I got one of two reactions:  either the look of horror spreading across their face when they realized what I said or curiosity in the form of questions, lot’s of questions about what and how it happened.  Now, maybe someone else would have taken this as an opportunity to make new friends, but it just made me uncomfortable.  I started lying.  I don’t like to lie.

Don’t Eat a Large Breakfast an Hour Before a Power Yoga  Class

This is serious folks.  And uncomfortable.  Very uncomfortable.  And for crying out loud, don’t order room service unless you are ill.  Go out and meet other conference goers!

Don’t Schedule a Kundalini Class as the Last Class of a Three Day all Yoga Weekend 

Ok.  This one is just a fun jab at my own fitness.  Up until that class, I didn’t know that much about Kundalini yoga except that there was some chanting and a meditative quality to it.  No one told me that the chanting was meant to distract you and the meditative quality was brought on from the repetition of movements.  After three days of Power yoga sessions, I walked into the Kundalini class inexplicably thinking there might be some restorative poses and was immediately launched into 11 minutes of moving from Down Dog to Up Dog, followed by 11 minutes of Tree Pose.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Kundalini yoga now, I just wish I knew what I was in for!  I will say though, the powerful gong sound that washed over me at the end of class was the perfect way to end the conference.

Bring an Extra Bathing Suit/Be Prepared for Mishaps

Yes.  So important.  And also, never forget to have a top or cover up with you.  You never know when the strap of your bikini top is going to break while you’re on the beach.  Best to be prepared.

So go.  Find a conference and go.  Whether it’s yoga, blogging, education, cooking, or any other type of conference you might be interested in.  Just sign up and if you don’t want to go by yourself, then find a friend to go with.  My very next yoga conference was with a group of friends.  This time, I got out of my room a little bit more.  And most recently, I attended a blogging conference (EBA’s Activate LIVE) in Orlando.  Not only did I finally get to meet blogging friends that I’ve known for a while online, but I also got to meet new blogging friends…all while learning the latest information in the Blogosphere.

What conference do you want to go to?  Don’t be afraid to try something new.