Seems natural for a community interested in compassion and wellness to gravitate toward Yoga, right? And seems natural for the Yoga community to embrace a path that embodies care for all beings and living lightly on the earth, right? I have been saying for years that if all the people who embrace compassion for all beings could come together we would be a loving force that could change the world. I did not know exactly how this “coming together” would look. I was looking for a model of this kind of connection, but not finding it. My yoga buddies did not quite understand my animal activism and vegan choice. Many of my vegan, animal activist buddies were not taking the time to care for themselves through a daily practice of yoga or other body/mind/spirit care.
Then along comes the World Peace Yoga Conference (WPYC) and the two worlds meld into a perfect union. Imagine a place where those who care deeply about the environment sharing the stage with those who care deeply about all species and those who practice yoga and meditation. Mix in a little Non-violent Communication (NVC) for good measure. Imagine all this just outside of Cincinnati. Yep, plain old Cincinnati. Not California or Hawaii or Santa Fe. After JC and I led a program for Earthsave in Cincinnati, we ate a two thumbs up meal at the all vegan Loving Café (Don’t miss this place if you are in Cinti). Then to Grailville, 30 minutes outside of Cinti for the WPYC.
Harold Brown and Julia Butterfly Hill touched everyone’s hearts with their honest and open sessions. I loved Julia talking about how strange it is that non-violence is a double negative for something so positive. Jivamukti Yoga founders David and Sharron kicked our butts in tough love yoga with vegan teachings throughout. Will Tuttle inspired with teachings and piano. JC presented an abbreviated phytonutrient talk hoping that people would fall in love with this health powerhouse in plant foods (Hopefully those at the talk learned that they are not PhotoNutrients...that is the nourishment you get when you see a beautiful photo). Judy Carman brought her down to earth, easy to be with compassion. Elizabeth Farian, a vocal and energetic activist in her eighties (co-founder of the National Organization for Women) put fuel on our inner activist fires. Amy Ferguson delighted everyone with her caring, playful music. Doug Swenson had us laughing and sweating in our yoga postures. And Andrew Harvey gave us the fire and brimstone to send us out into the world electrified. I squeezed in other sessions when I could, but I was busy with tabling, dog walking and leading 5 sessions during the weekend. I had the pleasure of walking in on the end of Sheli Carpenters love fest on the last day….but missed so many of the wonderful speakers presentations. In addition to the ones I already mentioned, the speakers included:
Gabriel Cousens, MD
Anna Ferguson (Co-organizer of the conference)
Yoga Dan Gottlieb
Kamaniya and Keshavacharya Das
John Mooter-Great piano player!
Mark Stroud (Co-organizer of the conference and creator of the best meals ever)
Patrick Murphy Welage (Laughing guru)
Keep your eyes open for the second annual World Peace Yoga Conference 2010! (By then the name may change to World Peace Jubilee....stay tuned)