I have been wanting to check out the Evolution Asia Yoga Conference for a few years, but I was never able to make it work with my schedule. To be completely honest, it had gotten to the point where it was ridiculous – I mean, it even took place in Hong Kong, my own backyard! I had no excuse to miss it again, and was finally in Hong Kong and able to attend the event this year, much to my delight.
Over the years, the wellness and health community has flourished in Hong Kong, and more and more events catering to this demographic have been hosted (like the IRIS Health, Wellness and Yoga Festival). The Asia Yoga Conference is the biggest Yoga-focused event over on this side of the planet, and has been running for a decade or so. The 2018 event took place over 4 days, and featured 180+ workshops and classes from more than 50 wellness and Yoga professionals around the world.
If you are interested in Yoga, already practice Yoga, teach Yoga or have never even heard of Yoga before, I can wholeheartedly recommend that you check out the Asia Yoga Conference next year if you are in this neck of the woods and want to integrate more Yoga into your travels. Then you’ll understand why teachers and practitioners travel from all around the world to practice side-by-side at the event. After checking out the Asia Yoga Conference, here are 6 compelling reasons why you should attend in the future!
1. Attend classes led by world-class Yoga teachers
The Asia Yoga Conference gathered more than 50 leading Yoga teachers and wellness professionals from around the world – how often do you get the opportunity to learn from so many experienced teachers in 1 place? I was only able to attend 2 out of 4 days of the event, but over just 48 hours I attended Ashtanga classes with Clayton Horton and David Swenson, a Vinyasa class with Jared McCann, an Ayurveda lecture by Dario Calvaruso, a hands-on assisting workshop with Tryphena Chia, and a restorative Yin session with Chris Su. Other renowned teachers who taught at the event include Ana Forrest, Patrick Creelman, Tymi Howard and Carolyn Cowan, just to name a few.
2. Experience a diverse array of teachings and classes
The biggest dilemma I had during my time at the Asia Yoga Conference was which classes to attend. I wish cloning were a real thing, because at any given time there were at least 2-3 classes that I wanted to check out. You might think that a Yoga conference would only offer Yoga classes and workshops, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Over the 4 days, not only were there classes focused on different styles of the physical poses (asanas) such as Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Yin and Kundalini, there were also sessions and lectures on meditation, alignment, philosophy, anatomy, face reading and numerology, Ayurveda, astrology, self-development, reiki, the business of Yoga, Yoga therapy and much much more. As David Swenson said during the conference, an event such as this one is essentially a buffet – try a bit of everything and see which speaks to you!
The organizers also took into consideration the fact that people from all backgrounds were attending the event, so arranged for consecutive interpretation into different languages to ensure that the sessions were as inclusive as possible. The classes are also organized in a way that suits different levels of practitioners – whether you are new to Yoga, have been practicing for years, or are a Yoga teacher looking to deepen your skill set and knowledge.
3. Take advantage of the community classes
Free classes? What in the what??? Yes, you read that right! The Asia Yoga Conference offered many complimentary workshops and lectures that were open to the public – no tickets required. Teachers hosted a variety of classes including a kids family Yoga class, session on veganism, a women’s circle, community meditation and so on.
4. Check out the exhibitors
This year, approximately 50 brands set up booths at the Asia Yoga Conference. As you can imagine, there were a lot of stalls selling Yoga pants. A lot. Including an amazing pair of leggings with an avocado print that sold out of my size. But there were also stalls selling Yoga equipment like mats, blocks and other props, meditation tools and books. If you are in the market for some new gear, this is a great place to stock up.
Pro tip: if you visit towards the end of the conference many exhibitors slash the prices to get rid of stock! Some quality Yoga books and DVDs were even going for HK$10 a pop – that’s just over a dollar in US currency!
5. Meet other people from the Yoga community
A large-scale conference such as the Asia Yoga Conference is a great opportunity to meet fellow Yoga lovers from all backgrounds and nationalities. People travel far and wide to get to the event – during my time at the conference I met people from the U.S., Italy, Korea, Australia, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K., Germany, and Costa Rica. Make the most of the gathering by meeting like-minded people and being a part of the community.
6. Learn about other styles of Yoga and the different limbs of Yoga
Isn’t Yoga all about touching your toes and putting your leg behind your head like a human pretzel? Not necessarily. Let’s start by exploring definitions of what “Yoga” is. There are many ways to interpret “Yoga” – union, to yoke, connection, the removal of fluctuations of the mind and so on. One of the popular ways of understanding what practices fall under the umbrella of Yoga is through the eight limbs of Yoga.
Without going into too much detail, Yoga encompasses many different practices that include the physical poses, controlled breathing, meditation, ethical & moral disciplines and personal observances (how we relate to the self). Read more on that here.
In my opinion, conferences like the Asia Yoga Conference are a good way to dip your toes into the aspects of Yoga beyond the physical form and poses and explore the other limbs. Attend a morning session on Yoga philosophy followed by a lunch-time lecture on back bending, and top off your afternoon with workshops on myofascial release and mindfulness meditation. Now rinse and repeat over the next 3 days!
Pricing and venue of the Asia Yoga Conference
In 2017, the event was held on June 8th to 11th, and this year, the Asia Yoga Conference took place from June 7th to 10th in Hong Kong. Stay tuned to their website for more information on next year’s event as there are some rumors floating around that the event might take place in another Asian city in 2019.
There are a number of different ticket options for the event ranging from single session or single day passes to lecture-only passes and tickets for the entire event (not including the free community classes). Pricing varies widely depending on what you choose and if you take advantage of the early bird offer (anywhere from HKD$500 to HKD$5899 – the equivalent of US$60 to US$750).
If you make the most of your time at the conference, you more than get your money’s worth in quality teaching and classes – we are talking 6-8 hours per day of classes, lectures and workshops from highly qualified teachers. It’s a steal! If you are a Yoga teacher, some sessions can also go towards your Continuing Education Credits with the Yoga Alliance. My advice would be to take advantage of the early bird offer as it is approximately one third cheaper than the onsite pricing.
It is also possible to apply for volunteer work exchange if you’re prepared to help out before, during and after the event. While you are granted entry to the event as a volunteer, the organizers do state that “if attending classes is your objective or if you cannot make the necessary commitment, volunteering is NOT the option for you.” Check out the website for more application criteria.
I genuinely enjoyed my time at the Asia Yoga Conference and would highly recommend that you attend if you are a Yoga lover or are interested in learning more about the Yoga sphere. Maybe I’ll even see you at the event next year! Have you attended a Yoga conference or Yoga festival that you would recommend? Tell me all about it in the comments section!
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I attended the Asia Yoga Conference as hosted media. No compensation was received for this article, and as always, the opinions on Yogawinetravel.com are (and always will be) my own!