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..........