Life. Yoga. Joy.
Inspiring a life with smiles...™
"So Sam, do you trust me?"
Looking down at the half dressed man lying on the ground before me, whose legs were poised to hoist me into the air (hopefully gracefully) I thought "what's your name again?"
It was nearly 2pm on Saturday afternoon. I had been up since 5am to get an early start heading to Wanderlust - Los Angeles, held on the Santa Monica Pier. The day had been this dazzle of stimuli and now I was waiting with my friend to attend our last class of the day - AcroYoga. Coincidentally four teachers - unrelated to the group we would be working with in the class - had been helping people around us try poses. Seemingly effortlessly, they hoisted woman into the air helping them into beautiful shapes and graceful poses.
AcroYoga combines yoga and acrobatics. In its simplest form, two partners work together to create dynamic poses and shapes. A base is the person supporting the flyer (generally the person off the ground). Both positions take incredible coordination, core strength, flexibility, and trust in your partner, in order to have a positive practice.
The day had been perfect, yet full of surprises. Thanks to the SigO's carefully planning (he was our driver to the event), my friend and I arrived while the booths were still being set up. We were not alone though, a number of lovely yogis were also milling about.
TIP: When going to an event like this, it truly pays to arrive early. We were able to get a good idea of the layout before the crowds converged upon us, had a relaxing photo op moment, and scored a prime spot near the stage for the yoga dance party with MC Yogi!
We noticed people setting down their yoga mats in the preset spots out in the open for the later large group session.
Shrugging our shoulders at one another we both figured, "Well, why not put our mats down now?" It would be awfully low of someone to steal a mat at a yoga festival...right?
Remember when you were a kid and you left your toys out? You didn't worry about someone stealing them! It was an exhilarating feeling to be able to leave my mat, walk away, and know that it would be there again hours later.
COOL MOMENT: While I love many of the smaller classes I have taken, doing yoga with a large group of people is INSPIRING! Chelsey Korus cued us through a inclusive series of postures which allowed beginners to participate, and the more advanced to play a bit. So many minds, bodies, and souls in tune to the same purpose was absolutely beautiful. Imagine the good we can all do in the world if we put that energy to use!
Before we got to the dance party with MC Yogi, the yoga, or the meditation, we first had to make it thru the 5K....my FIRST race EVER!
If you had asked me years ago whether I saw myself running a race, I probably would have laughed at you. At my first college I ran at night, alone, up in the hills of Bel Air to combat insomnia. I remember grabbing my anti-skip CD player (chuckle if you must), lacing up my generic sneakers, and heading out the door with no idea about pacing, proper fuel, distance tracking, etc. I ran to wear myself out for a couple of hours of sleep...Racing? Please! Running was a method of combating hyperactivity, not for fun.
Fast forward to last Saturday, and here I was at the starting line...
On the sand?
Unbeknownst to most of us, our race was held right at the water's edge. I have NEVER run on sand before. My friend looked at me, smiled and said "Let's take off our shoes..." We stuck them under a makeshift platform and prepared to run.
So here I am at my first yoga festival, about to run my first 5K, and already I am leaving my material possessions behind me...could we get anymore blissfully cliche?
I run with headphones to help me focus. I have read all the runners who say to leave them off, connect with nature. And while I LOVED the sight of the waves on the beach, the sight of all these people clustered around me about to take off running was panic-inspiring.
One of the bizarre realities of my life is that as much as I LOVE crowds of people giving off positive energy, I am also claustrophobic. So a large group of people, most of whom would be faster than me, about to surge forward in a competitive manner, led to me imagining being trampled to death by a hundred smiling yogis. I suppose there are worse ways to go...
In preparing for this event I discovered that I actually find running enjoyable. My version of running today is really a combo platter of short sprints and fast walking, but I love it. And guess what? Running for the sheer joy of it made the race an absolute delight. After all, how often do you get to splash in the waves on a Saturday morning, on a perfect California day?
Additional highlights included knowing the SigO was cheering me on, and my dear friend running back to finish with me (she had already completed the race being a beautiful athlete!)...
SO you are probably still wondering about the half naked man lying on the ground in front of me. Did I fly or what?
If you are going to attend a Wanderlust event, know that you will have the joy of trying new experiences, breaking out of your comfort zone, and sharing positive mojo with strangers.
You yogis are beautiful and I can't wait to do it all over again this weekend in San Diego.
Samantha Eve, a