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A yoga insider’s guide to The New York Yoga Journal Conference

Ava TaylorFor YAMA Talent founder Ava Taylor, the New York Yoga Journal Conference is a very big deal. The go-to celeb yogi agent is the ultimate yoga insider, and the conference is where she scouts talent, networks—and of course, stretches.

“We will majorly be getting our yoga on,” Taylor says of this year’s event, which kicks off on Thursday. The conference attracts teacher from all over, most of whom Taylor’s on a first-name basis with: “I am looking forward to catching Scott [Blossom)], Bo [Forbes], Rod-Col [Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee], and Cyndi [Lee].”

Of course, Taylor will also be supporting her YAMA crew teaching classes at the conference, like Dana Flynn and Raghunath, and scouting out the marketplace for new yoga goodies. (She’ll be making a beeline for the So Delicious booth: “These coconut milk treats were absolutely heaven last year after back to back-to-back yoga classes!”)

Since she’s got an insider view, we asked Taylor to dish on the conference events she’s most excited about. Here’s where you’ll find her rolling out her mat:

1. Sangha Space. This is a super eclectic mix of NYC-based spiritual artists, all movers and shakers, hand-curated by YAMA Talent. It’s a non-stop party in the marketplace, and it’s free to the public. (Meaning you don’t need to buy a conference pass to get in.) There’s hooping, Acro yoga, DJ sets, Kirtan, family rock music (YES, bring the kids!), spoken word, henna, and more.

Ava Taylor

Ava Taylor’s “office” at last year’s Yoga Journal conference. (Photo Francesca Magnani)

2. “Grow Your Bottom Line Through Student Retention” with Beverly Murphy. Bev Murphy is a total powerhouse and founder of Mind Body Online, the leading software for fitness studios [that pretty much anyone who's ever booked a yoga or fitness class has encountered]. We work with Mind Body a lot in our consulting sessions with top studios, so I would not miss a chance to study directly with her. She is absolutely the wizard when it comes to understanding the software. We’ll be looking for gems to pass along to our consulting clients!

3. “Handle with Care: Ahimsa in Asana” Panel Discussion. I never miss a chance to see Leslie Kaminoff [author of Yoga Anatomy, and a yoga educator and intellectual] a lecture panel. Ever. If you haven’t heard him speak, it’s a must.

4. The Presenter’s Cocktail Hour. Wine, water, and elbow rubbing with all the yoga luminaries? Yes! It’s truly the highlight of my conference to be able to shake hands, hug, and smile in a casual setting with so many yoga greats. I have heard there is a karaoke after-party this year…more on that post conference!

For more information about the New York Yoga Journal Conference or to obtain tickets, visit www.yjevents.com/ny