I spent Friday night here…
(photo credit to Simone Jowell via the lulu Facebook page)
Leading up to the event, I planned take the yoga class lead by Tammy Lyons from Inner Bliss outside in the plaza at the Rock + Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. I made plans to carpool with my Nishkama Yoga crew, to purchase glow sticks and drag my husband to another “my crazy wife made me do it” experience.
But then on Wednesday, I was asked to actually assist during Cleveland’s biggest yoga fest. And luckily due to an early holiday office closing, my answer was an easy “HECK YES”.
I arrived before 5PM on Friday evening for our assistants meeting. There were about 15 of us total, and we talked through the logistics of giving yoga assists to that many people. It might seem like we’re just grabbing hips, shoulders and other body parts – there is so much more to it when you have that many bodies to maneuver. We also helped with setting up the table of Good Greens Bars, move cases of water bottles provided by Whole Foods Market Cedar Center (after many blogger meetups at their store, I do love my WFM friends!), and get the dance party started early.
By 6PM, Clevelanders started to arrive an set their mats up around the Rock Hall plaza. As anticipated, I ran into plenty of familiar faces:
Clockwise from top left: with Nishkama Yoga teacher Stephanie; with Akron blogger Rachel from It’s A Hero; with Lisa from Whole Foods Market Cedar Center; with Hans, fellow Nishkama Teacher Kevin and Kristen; with Cleveland blogger & #crazydogyogi Jen from WhyCLE?; and with Cleveland yoga teacher and blogger Maria from Daily Downward Dog… and the list goes on!
As I buzzed about, I’m not sure where the next few hours went. Congressman Tim Ryan took the stage at 7:00PM to share his thoughts on mindfulness with the crowd. Pretty unique to hear a politician talk about awareness and meditation! But then 8:00PM was upon us and the assistants were brought up on stage to be introduced to the crowd of Cleveland yogis:
I cannot put into proper words the feeling of awe I felt on stage in that moment. As Adam from lulu read each of our names, I could see our Nishkamis, my blog friends, my husband. Standing next to my teachers Ylonda and Laura, I soaked up the energy of the teachers with us – some of the finest in Cleveland. For a second, I thought what the hell am I doing up here with this outstanding group?! And then something hit me: the Universe opened up for me to have this opportunity – so why not soak it all in, run with it and have some fun in the process?
The 90 minute class was a joy to assist – partly because it seemed pretty difficult, ha! – but also because it gave me the opportunity to help out so many people. Tammy filled the class playlist with tunes from Rock Hall inductees, including U2 and The Rolling Stones. About midway through, she called out for a dance break - check out Allison’s Instagram feed for fun.
An hour and a half later, savasana was upon the crowd…
(Original photo source – doctored up by picmonkey.com. If you look carefully, you can see me giving a savasana assist.)
The evening wrapped up with Derek Millender – Head Performance Specialist for the Cleveland Cavaliers – sharing how he incorporates yoga in his and the Cavs’ daily workouts. I weaved my way back through the crowd to sit & listen with Hans on his yoga mat. I was hungry (boo to the food trucks that backed out last minute!), completely drained and ready for bed. I was also inspired, motivated and amazed at what these 1000+ Clevelanders left on the plaza of the the Rock Hall that evening. It was pure love for this city and for yoga.
There were several times I got lost in the moment — of all the people breathing as one combined with the glowing CLE skyline all around us. I will NEVER forget this event and how it made us all feel. And in the spirit of making things happen, I’m ready to make even more of them occur here in my hometown. Just watch what can happen when a part-time yoga teacher / full-time event planner gets a crazy idea in her head…
Missed out on the fun Friday night? Check out all the photos from Simone Jowell and lululemon athletica Eton Chagrin on their Facebook photo album. Another huge thank you to the store’s and the Inner Bliss teams for their hard work and vision to make this event a reality!