SYTAR 2016 – Post-Conference Reflection

Sarah Kaczor Greco (right) with Heather Stang at SYTAR, June 2016

I registered right before the early bird discount expired, had 2 other roommates share hotel room costs, nibbled on one scone for three breakfasts, drove the seven hours ($60 in RT gas vs a $250 RT plane ticket), and silently resented the hotel’s $10/night parking fee. Yet I knew it was an investment worth making.

In the past I’ve had sticker shock at the price of admission to professional conferences and the cost of getting there and the accommodations on top of that. I would quickly abandon the idea of attending.

About five years ago, I had a very strong desire to attend a conference called Women Leadership and Adventure Summit by The Peaks Foundation. It was so important to me that I found a way to attend and paid for everything myself. At that conference, I learned to rock climb, something I’d always felt too disempowered to try. I remember the moment when I looked down the sheer cliff I’d just climbed. I felt incredible! At the conference I felt powerful and strong. Nothing came easy. These experiences were my lessons in commitment and investment.

I have the same wonderful feeling returning home from SYTAR. Last year, I looked with a sense of yearning at the Facebook picture of Michael Lee and the small circle of PRYTers having dinner during the event, that year in Newport Beach, CA (where it will again be hosted in 2017). I looked at their smiling faces and felt strong wish to be there. That longing was accompanied by a sinking feeling as I thought, I can’t afford it, and why do I deserve to be at SYTAR anyway?

I felt frustrated by this response in myself and recalled my commitment to the I applied what I knew. I’ve experienced my edges with finances, and though I squeak by, I’m rewarded with that incredible feeling of having experienced something I never imagined I would. It’s so worth it.

Then there’s the reward of the experience itself. I arrived prior to the conference to attend IAYT’s Meeting of Schools, representing PRYT as program director of the Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training. Truthfully, I felt a little like a high school freshman. At the event I was blessed by the presence, empathetic listening, and dialogue skills of my colleagues and teachers. Beverly Johnson presented IAYT’s certification process as part of the Certification Board, and was then recognized for her work by IAYT. It was thrilling to see Bev represent PRYT with such passion and grace. She uses her special, unique skill set to further develop and define the integrity and professionalism of Yoga Therapy.

As I sat through the professional CIC presentations, I was impressed by those innovative individuals integrating Yoga Therapy in the mainstream population and health care system. I felt inspired by their ideas and empowered by their success. It was especially inspiring for me to witness our PRYT colleagues’ presentations. Renee Groeneman and Soleil Hepner presented “Befriend the Fear of Trauma Work for Empowered Client Results” and Theresa Conroy presented “Yoga Therapy Clinic: An Urgent Care Model for Fast, Focused, Accessible Healing.” I thought, If they can do it, I can try to do it—just like rock climbing.

The morning practice sessions, afternoon workshops, and plenary speakers offered great information and inspiration. I had the opportunity to learn about many new (to me) tools and different perspectives. I saw that the professional Yoga Therapy community is creative, curious, interactive, and friendly. I noticed and experienced many strong connections in both missions and visions. There are so many ways in which the various schools and techniques complement each other while offering unique approaches to our YT work. I’m confident that our professional Yoga Therapy service is having a positive impact on the world right now, and that it will continue to grow.

The keynote speakers were brilliant in their presentations. It was with special pride that I witnessed Michael Lee’s opening address and rocked out to the Beatles’ “Revolution,” as part of his acknowledgement of those being called to action in the advancement of Yoga Therapy. Michael spoke to those qualities that unify and motivate us all in our field of work. With a deep and profound past, the pioneers in Yoga Therapy have, indeed, cultivated the dignity and integrity of our profession to the high standard we all recognize and appreciate today. Michael’s vision for the future is one where the many approaches to Yoga Therapy recognize and celebrate each other, promoting each other in communities that stand to benefit greatly from our work.

My takeaway from attending this year’s SYTAR is to manifest the worth of my investment and, for me, the way to do that is to listen for my heart’s next call to action and commit to it. The leaders of IAYT and SYTAR are not unlike me and are where they are because they committed to the call of action from their own hearts. I witnessed Renee and Soleil, along with a fabulous team of PRYTers, design and deliver an outstanding CIC presentation at an INTERNATIONAL conference! They’d even paid to be there—that was the level of commitment I witnessed. Now, that’s what I need to do! I’m lit up! I’m receiving the return on my investment in attending SYTAR right now.

I took action: before leaving SYTAR, I crossed paths with John Kepner, executive director of IAYT. I marched up to him and introduced myself. I told him I wanted to contribute to IAYT and I wanted to support more PRYTers contributing and representing our organization with IAYT. He paused and acknowledged me with his full presence. He shook my hand a second time and asked for my name again. He then said that he also wanted PRYT to be more involved and thanked me for reaching out. We agreed that we would be reconnecting in the future.

I felt AMAZING and experienced a complete knowing in my body that SYTAR was absolutely worth every penny because I was feeling empowered and taking action.

Life presents us with ways to reconnect and re-inspire. My next opportunity to do this is at the PRYT Professional Conference in Bristol, VT, July 29-31. I’m really excited to see presentations given by friends I recently made at SYTAR, like Diana Tokaji, PRYT, who’s offering “Surviving Assault: Yoga Therapy for Early Complementary Intervention Following Assault or Trauma”; and Dr. Steffany Moonaz (MUIH), who’s offering “Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease: Evidence and Application for Yoga Therapy with Groups and Individuals.”

It’s an investment of time and money to be with my PRYT community. I’d inwardly debated attending the PRYT conference because I’d just attended SYTAR. Now I know that these community conferences are worth my investment, as long as I listen and move to the call of action in my heart. I’ll be there to discover what’s next for me!

What’s next for you?

Please share what’s next for you in the comments below.

In: Uncategorized