Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Accessible Yoga's Conference in a Box

Anita Haravon with Conference in a Box

by Brina Lord

I’d like to introduce you to our “Conference in a Box,” a cardboard box that measures approximately 4 feet long and 2 feet deep (120 x 60 x 60 cm), and when packed full, can weigh up to 68 lbs (31 kg). This well-traveled box has lasted over three years and has traveled from Santa Barbara, to New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Germany, St. Louis, and back to New York City. Pictured here, prepping the box for shipping in Rheinsberg, Germany, is my dear friend and Accessible Yoga (AY) Presenter/Ambassador Anita Haravon of Anita has traveled the world supporting AY!

This trusty (and quite sturdy) box houses the supplies for the Accessible Yoga Conference. The contents include five retractable banners, 200 nametag holders, computer cables, a first aid kit, markers, tape, scissors, and more! These tools help us make each conference organized, easeful, and accessible. The day after one conference wraps up, the box is shipped directly to the next conference destination and is often stored in the garage of a generous local volunteer. It stays there until the AY staff arrives in town a couple days before the next conference begins. We need to come prepared, because we have a very short amount of time to learn the territory and get set up.

My job at conferences is to make sure everything runs smoothly and that everyone is happy and comfortable. With the amazing AY staff and dedicated volunteers, I coordinate the many moving parts like hauling in borrowed yoga props, setting up tables and chairs, hanging hall signs, and preparing a space for the reception catering. This all happens in a flash before people start arriving for registration and the Opening Ceremony. For me, this is the thrill of a conference! It’s like putting on a play...and it’s showtime!

This is the moment we wait for with great anticipation...when we get the chance to greet familiar faces and meet new people who become fast friends. We gather together, ground ourselves, and begin a weekend of learning, connecting, sharing, and deepening our practices. Our world-class Presenters offer us an opportunity to steep our minds in rich discussion and innovative technique and the time spent together creates a bond, reminiscent of a family reunion. 

There is a special energy created at each conference, and I am so fortunate to have felt and witnessed it time and time again. That’s why, even though this year we can’t be together in person, I am so excited for our global community to come together and share this experience in a whole new way. Because I know when our community comes together, magic happens!

Yet, I have to wonder, how am I supposed to do all this without our faithful “Conference in a Box?” Without all the stuff and moving parts, what are my tools and resources now? How will I make the conference comfortable and accessible for everyone?

This is my mission over the next two months and where I would love to hear from you. If you would like to attend the conference but have concerns about how it will look, feel, and be accessible to you, please let me know! In last week's Blog post, Jivana shared a few tidbits about what we hope to include in the online conference and more information will be available on our website soon. In the meantime, you can email or connect with me on Facebook...I would love your input!

This is a groundbreaking experience for AY and I am eager to bring the Accessible Yoga Conference right into your living and work spaces. I am here to support your experience and am so excited to learn what tools will fill our “Virtual Conference in a Box!”

  Brina Lord lives in Brooklyn, NY and serves as General Manager of Accessible Yoga, with much of her focus on project management for the Accessible Yoga Conferences. She holds a 200-hr yoga teacher certificate from Integral Yoga Institute in New York City, where she also serves as part-time staff in various roles of administration. She has specialty training in Accessible Yoga Training and Kidding Around Yoga and has taught at Integral Yoga Institute and the NYC public school system. Before moving to New York, Brina worked in Chicago as a Stage Manager for multiple non-profit theatre companies. She was born and raised in a small town in central Minnesota, where she enjoys escaping the city and communing with nature at her family’s lake cabin.

This post was edited by Patrice Priya Wagner, Managing Editor of Accessible Yoga blog and member of the Board of Directors.

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