I’m not naturally an extrovert. So, its my passion for yoga that pushes me outside my comfort zone to stand in front of a room full of people and use my body, breath, and voice to guide them in a yoga practice. My yoga is playful and inquisitive and I like to experiment – drawing from Daoist martial art, dance, and other forms of movement. This keeps my practice and my teaching alive and inspired. But, it also makes what I do hard to categorize. If you want to know exactly what you’re going to get every time you show up for class, I’m probably not your girl. And it’s hard for me to fall in line behind a particular guru or tradition because I think all of them have something to offer but none have a monopoly on the truth. But, after a difficult conversation a few weeks ago with a studio owner who would prefer that I adhere to a particular brand of yoga, I started to ask myself, “Is it worth it? Do I really trust myself?” These questions were lingering as I headed towards the weekend. Gena Kenny of Ohana Yoga and I were scheduled to lead hundreds in yoga on the beach, only the weather was refusing to cooperate. The forecast was for storms on Friday night and a cold, wet Saturday morning. With wind and rain threatening, who would brave the beach?
I should pause here to note that I am a bit more cautious by nature than Gena, who generally trusts that all will be well. Me? I’m always the one who says, “Yeah, but what if it’s not?” But, as I watch Gena move through the world, I cannot help but be inspired by her unshakeable belief that things will turn out all right, because…well…if you believe in what you are doing, the universe will just align. So on Friday night, with the forecast looking grim , the beach yoga sponsors – Kokomo – pulled the plug. They canceled the event and informed everyone to gather the following Saturday. But, Gena had been working hard all week to get people down to the beach on Saturday and hundreds had committed to attending! And she was convinced that we would get a “window” of sunshine on Saturday morning for our yoga class, despite the forecast. So, she decided that we should just go ahead and teach anyway for whoever braved the weather and showed up. She called me to ask if I was still in but graciously extended an “out”. And I’ll admit, I struggled for a moment. I wasn’t really sure both of us needed to be there. I figured only a handful of people would show and that Gena could easily manage on her own. I pictured us with 5 or 10 die-hard yogis, trying to stay upbeat while we shivered in the cold. But, then I just thought, “Well, why not try Gena’s approach? Why not just trust that it will all work out instead of imagining all the ways it might not?”
And, here’s the thing. Thanks to her “can do” spirit, Kokomo agreed to send a rep out to give away cases of coconut water to anyone who braved the weather. And then Lululemon joined in and came down to give away free clothing! And then, despite the darkening skies and occasional sprinkles, 62 people gathered on the beach for yoga. And as we got ready to begin class, a faint rainbow appeared in the clouds, growing bigger and brighter as the class went on. As class ended, the wind picked up and a heavy rain began. But, as we ducked for cover, I laughed to myself because Gena was right. We got our “window”.
Sometimes I assume the worst because I don’t want to suffer disappointment. I have taken leaps of faith and fallen…hard. I have tended my wounds and thought, “Why was I leaping again, dammit?” But, then the universe sends you a Gena who laughs and tells you it will be fine and you find it in yourself to trust her and end up on the beach with 62 smiling people and a massive rainbow.