It was supposed to be a gorgeous, sunny, 85 degree, blue-sky kind of day. You know, just another day here in paradise known as Hawaii. I had organized a potluck after our regularly scheduled Sunday yoga class in the park and the activewear company, Fabletics, had sent me some swag to raffle off to my homies. I even got a photographer to come out so we’d have some cool pics of our sun-shiney, perfect, yoga community-building day.
But it rained.
Such is the risk when your yoga studio doubles as Mother Nature. I was feeling bummed that morning as I watched the grey sky continue to be a grey sky, but I I loaded my car anyway, crossed my fingers and hoped for some students. When I arrived, there were already more yogis than I had expected and by the time class started, there were 20 homies out in the rain ready to play yoga!
I opened class with a brief meditation on not being distracted by the external environment and to surrender to the fact that we would get wet (possibly really wet) and that our mats would be completely soaked by the end of class. The meditation was as much for me as my students because I find it stressful as a teacher when the environment isn’t “perfect.” Too windy. Too rainy. Too muddy. Too loud. Too hot. Too….Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I forget to trust that my students are capable of understanding the nature of practicing yoga outdoors and maybe it’s because of and not in spite of these things that they are drawn to my outdoor classes.
Our yoga flow this rainy, Sunday morning incorporated seated postures only at the beginning, one of which being boat pose because it just seemed appropriate in case we floated away in the rain! We did half sun salutations so that we wouldn’t get too dirty by going all the way down to our bellies on our water-logged mats. And the rest of class was standing poses–warriors I and II, chair pose, uttanasana, standing balances, and other poses that I felt were safe to do on slippery yoga mats. Class ended in a sweet standing savasana.
The Fabletic gear give-away and potluck took place right after class. Everyone was stoked to get a headband and I let the Homies draw names from a hat to give away the Fabletics water bottles, towel, a Yoga for My Homies shirt and some Yoga for My Homies stickers. As I talked to everyone, thanking them for making the effort to come out and do yoga in the rain, they ended up thanking ME saying how NICE it was to practice with the raindrops falling down on them. It was a concept I had not even considered because I was too busy wrestling the thoughts in my own head imagining everyone was automatically miserable. Our work, on and off the mat, is to remember to surrender to the present moment and don’t impose your thoughts, insecurities or assumptions on anyone else. Let’s question our expectations. Maybe there is something more “perfect” awaiting us that we don’t even realize. Coming from that space we might be able to embrace the dark and the light. The rain and the rainbow. A yoga class in the sunshine and one in the rain.
Big mahalo to Fabletics for the cute headbands, water bottles and towel that got raffled off. Kristian Ph2otography for the crazy beautiful photos that he captured. All the homies–the ones that came out to the park that day and the ones that stayed dry. And thank you to the rain for showing me just how perfect a rainy yoga class could be.
Courtney Wexler teaches yoga at various studios on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, but is most proud of “Yoga for My Homies,” her donation-based park classes overlooking the ocean. The self-proclaimed “student of life” also recently completed her Ayurvedic Health Educator certification and plans to integrate what she has learned into her practice.