Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview - Northwest Yoga Conference

We sat down with Melissa Hagedorn to learn more about the 1st annual Northwest Yoga Conference. Why did you decide to start a yoga conference?

Melissa Hagedorn: I started it because it is what I wished I had been able to attend in previous years. Most yoga conferences and retreats are far away – you go to some white sandy beach to get away from the cold Washington winters. That sounds amazing, but most people I know can’t afford to do that. I wanted to create that immersive yoga retreat vibe locally.

TO: What were some of the hardest hurdles when starting a new conference?

MH: I would say the biggest challenge was that I am just a yoga student. I am not a teacher with tons of industry connections already in place.

TO: How did you overcome that?

MH: I reached out to my local teachers and they were all receptive to the idea. They emailed the information out to their connections and it grew from there. I had originally planned for a fairly small event but something in my head kept saying “go bigger” so I did!

TO: I’ll say – you have what, 36+ workshops? For not being connected, that’s a lot!

MH:  We advertised in the local yoga newsletter and searched the Internet for various teachers and workshops. We put up a link on our website to solicit presenter proposals. All together we ended up with about twice as many applicants as workshops.

TO: How did you decide which presenters to bring onboard?

MH: The hardest part was turning people down. But being a new conference, I wanted us to have some credibility. That meant bringing on people who knew what they were doing. So having some sort of past experience presenting at events played heavily in our decision.

Also, we wanted a balanced offering with sessions for complete beginners to introduce them to yoga, for yoga students like me to deepen our practice, and for advanced teachers to deepen their knowledge.

TO: Do you have any advice for teachers looking to present at events?

MH: We didn’t make a decision on the presenters until after the presenter proposal deadline, but I found I gravitated towards those that got their applications in early. I think I had more time to contemplate their workshop idea and it had time to grow on me.

Also, the more thorough and well thought-out the proposal the easier it made my job. I didn’t have to track people down for more information and could really get a sense for what they were going to teach immediately.

Lastly, we looked at how willing and able they were to help promote the conference. We needed to get the word out so people who came to us with stellar marketing ideas and who seemed really invested in making the conference a success, stuck out.

TO: Thank you, Melissa!

  •        Event Name: Northwest Yoga Conference
  •        Location: Lynnwood, WA (Lynnwood Convention Center)
  •          2012 Dates: February 18th and 19th
  •         Number of Years Event has Been Going On:  First year!
  •       Estimated Attendance: 300+
  •       Number of Presenters: 35-40
  •       Types of Presenters: Wide variety of yoga (kids yoga, kundalini, iyengar, chanting, meditation, yoga philosophy, workshops specific for yoga teachers, etc.)
  •       Website:
  •       How to Submit a Presenter Proposal: Applications are available in the spring for presenters to submit workshop ideas. 
More than 300 yoga students and instructors are expected to attend the first annual Northwest Yoga Conference–the only yoga conference in the Seattle area– which will take place on February 18 and 19 at the Lynnwood Convention Center in Lynnwood, Washington.

If you would like to have your event highlighted on our blog, please contact us at

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview – Caribbean Yoga Conference

This week we went behind the scenes with Kimberly Moon of Bella Luna Yoga to chat about her newest undertaking: creating the Caribbean Yoga Conference. What prompted you to start the Caribbean Yoga Conference? 

Kimberly Moon: I was visiting Jamaica for Bella Luna Yoga and got to know the yoga community there. There are some amazing teachers and students, but the industry is in such infancy right now I wanted to do something to help it grow. I am hoping this conference will help spread the word about yoga further into the community.

TO: How did you go about deciding on the faculty and presenters?

KM: We began planning about 18 months ago. With this being a new conference, I really wanted to start off strong. I sat down with the CYC Director of Programming, who formerly worked in Kripalu’s programming department, and we put together a “Dream Team.” We wanted to bring in some presenters that already had a proven following to ensure people would make the trip to see them.

TO: So a big part of your decision to bring someone on is his or her established following?

KM: Yes. For a large conference such as this, we need to know ahead of time that the cost of bringing someone down here will be offset by the audience they will draw in.

TO: What do you look at to establish if someone has enough of a following?

KM: One great indicator is their social media reach – number of facebook friends and/or Twitter followers. Another would be the size of their marketing database. Someone who has hundreds of people they connect with consistently (for example, with a monthly newsletter) will be able to help us promote the conference to their fans. Also, we look at previous events they have been at or workshops they have taught to gauge public interest.

TO: Is there anything else you look for, besides following?

KN: The established following is for our heavy hitters. But we don’t want to go into an emerging market such as Jamaica and fly in the entire conference faculty. We want to choose some presenters locally as well since they will be the ones staying behind to cultivate the yoga community after the conference is over. We want to establish relationships between local teachers and local students. So location can be one criterion in our decisions.

In addition to location, we want to have presenters that fit with our theme. This year our theme is Seva (community service). Therefore, the amount of community service our presenters do factored into our decision – many of them have started non-profits or contribute to charities regularly.

TO: Are you are open to presenters reaching out to you, even though when you start planning for next year you may already have an idea of whom you want?

KM: Absolutely! We have a Presenter Proposal link on our website that stays up year round. Each and every Presenter Proposal we receive through the website we read through and consider.

TO: What is your best advice to presenters looking to break into the larger conferences?

KM: Most importantly, grow your following. Use social media to connect with people who may have never experienced you in person. Begin a marketing database of relationships, so if asked, you know exactly what you can bring to the table. Start looking for smaller local events to establish yourself as a presenter. Usually smaller events don’t have the budget to bring in people from out of town, so being local is a huge benefit. Go to the bigger conferences and network, network, network. Get your name out there. Come on down to Jamaica and say hi to us in person, so we know who you are when your Presenter Proposal comes across our desk.

TO: Great advice! Thank you Kim!


The 1st Annual Caribbean Yoga Conference | February 2nd – 5th - Montego Bay, Jamaica 
For it's inaugural event, the Caribbean Yoga Conference is landing in beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica for 4 days of sun, sand, seva and sangha. The conference lineup includes workshops for all abilities with world-renowned instructors including Seane Corn, Simon Park, Paige Elenson, Sadie Nardini, Kathryn Budig, Jenny Sauer-Klein, Jason Nemer and Toni Bergins. The conference will also offer a rockin’ beach concert with MC Yogi and opportunities for morning meditation and noon yoga on the beach. There will also be plenty of time to just sit back, relax and connect with community. A unique element of this conference is its scholarship and sustainability program, which is geared towards Jamaica’s youth workers. The aim with this program is to spread the reach of yoga related tools to the marginalized children of Jamaica. See you in Jamaica!

If you would like to have your event highlighted on our blog, please contact us at

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome, 2012!

Well, here it is: Yet another year we are going to consciously choose to make amazing :)

Here at we are pretty excited about what is coming. Throughout the last few months we have been working hard to connect with event planners and organizers. We have been gathering information to aid you in your journey of booking conferences, workshops and retreats and we are almost ready to share!

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of so we can let you in on all of the insider information we have been collecting.

Stay tuned..........

Monday, October 31, 2011


As promised, the new changes have now gone live. We are well on our way to becoming the premiere online source of Healthy Living talent!

We are allowing current Oms until Dec 1st, 2011 to update their Om Profile with all of the required information. After that all incomplete Om Profiles will be disabled and no longer come up in searches. To learn more about what is now required, check out this quick video.

Note to current Oms - as soon as you begin updating your profile it will need to have all requirements met before it can be put live again. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Changes Coming Your Way

We have some exciting news! We have been picking the brains of some people in the yoga event world, and gotten some great advice on how to make our site indispensable to them. We are poised to capture not only the yoga event planners, but the eye of all event planners (what corporate retreat doesn't have a stress release section?! How many fundraising lunches don't have an inspirational speaker?) with just a few small changes.

The biggest change, is we will begin requiring more information from our Oms. No longer will we allow profiles without tags, or detailed descriptions, or videos, to go live. While we realize this is a bit of a time commitment on the part of the Oms, we are confident it will help us present the best batch of Oms to the event planners now and in the future - full profiles will keep them coming back year after year. To offset that extra effort on the part of the Oms, we will be keeping the site free for a bit longer.

Another big change is how you submit your Om profile. We will be breaking it up into more of a wizard - showing you step by step exactly what will make your profile shine. Lots of help, video explanations, example text - everything you need to help you build a full and complete profile. Look for this change in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, you can get a jump start on filling in your Om profile completely by logging in today.

We hope you are excited by this feedback from actual event planners as we were. We are on our way towards becoming the premier source for staffing events and workshops.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Don't Waste Your Cancer

Yesterday, I had the privilege of seeing Kris Carr speak. I honestly did not know who she was before this luncheon. I believe I am very lucky to have not heard of her, seeing as she is such a large figure in the world of cancer. My ignorance of her reflects my ignorance of the disease - I have never had a reason to research it and come across this amazing woman names Kris.

Her story is one of a heroine - girl gets cancer, girl vows to fight cancer, girl shares everything she learns with others, girl's info saves others' lives. Rinse and repeat. The entire morning was packed with emotion and wisdom, but one statement stood out to me: Don't Waste Your Cancer.

This statement at first shocked me. It was almost as if she was criticizing those who felt victimized by their cancer. But then I began to understand where she was coming from.

Since I cannot relate to a cancer diagnosis, I interpret "cancer" to be anything in your life you need to overcome. Maybe it is a physical disease. Maybe it is an abusive relationship. Maybe it is just crippling fear stopping you from moving forward. We all have our own "cancers" in our lives.

To me, this message of "Don't Waste Your Cancer" is life-changing. When something bad is thrown our way, it is so easy to play victim and wallow in self pity. It is so easy to sometimes get too tired to fight. To make excuses. To lean on this mountain as a crutch. But there is another way to look at things. When something bad happens, use it to learn. To grow. To overcome. Don't let it pass as a wasted opportunity.

My yoga teacher told us a story about this woman he ran into a few years ago. He had known her previously, but when he saw her on this day, she looked amazing. He told her as much - that she looked radiant and glowing and asked what she had been doing. She replied, "I got cancer and had to learn how to take care of myself." That is what is meant by not wasting your cancer. Use it to better yourself and as a wake up call to make changes in your life.

Kris Carr didn't waste her cancer - she made a documentary, wrote 3 books, started a health and wellness website and now travels around speaking to audiences like ours. She isn't a doctor or professor or even in the health industry. Instead, she took something as horrible as a cancer diagnosis and turned it into a chance to change her life. She learned everything she could about how the body works - what parts nutrition, mentality, physical exercise, and community play in her world and then used that knowledge to attack her cancer head-on. You don't have to become a New York Times Best Selling Author to feel like you are not wasting your cancer. You just have to make something positive out of it. It could be changing your eating habits, or motivating someone to exercise with you on a regular basis. It might even be just putting yourself out there with something that scares you. Let the "cancer" become your teacher. A forced chance to get out of your comfort zone and shake up your life a little bit.

Next time you find yourself wallowing over some huge obstacle put in your way, try to look at is as an opportunity instead. Don't Waste Your Cancer.

Monday, September 26, 2011

WEBSITE HELP: Check Out the New Om Profile Layout

Below is a quick video tour of the new profile page. There have been quite a few changes, and we want to introduce you to them one at a time. Here is the initial overview. Look for a deeper dive into how you can use each element to your benefit in future blogs.

Some of the most important changes to highlight are:
  • Use of subdomains to link directly to an Om profile. For example, my profile can be found at This makes it easy to share your Om profile on business cards, your website, social media websites, etc. Go claim your subdomain today!
  • All elements brought onto 1 page instead of clicking through multiple pages per Om.
  • Tagging per Om Profile (instead of per video). This allows the Oms to be found easier in searches.
  • News stories allows you to link to any external story either from you or about you, to give a clearer picture of how you interact in your yoga community.
  • Videos brought front and center since they are a very important element of your Om profile that allow event planners to get a sense of who you are and your presence.
  • The ability to contact the Om through the website instead of sharing their personal email/phone publicly. 
If you have a profile, go on in and start using the new features! If you don't have a profile yet, what are you waiting for?!?!? They're free, see you there!

The Team