I was excited for YogaFest. I wouldn’t stop talking about it all week. Especially after all the fun I’d had at last year’s YogaFest.
But then came the rain.
Several of the girls I was going with started to cancel, and all the excitement I had been building up all week began to wear away. What if it pours all day? What if the location gets moved inside. It just won’t have the same feeling, I thought to myself.
It’s in moments of doubt that your faith gets shaken.
Nevertheless I got up and put on my yoga pants, and changed three times because I felt fat and finally rushed out the door. I was doing all the things I tell other people not to do: I was feeling doubtful, I was practicing self hate, and I was starting my day in chaos.
Boy, did I need yoga!
As I walked in to YogaFest, I felt the clouds opened up and glorious sunshine began beating down upon my shoulders. It was beautiful.
I had barely walked in when a girl came up to me with a single white flower. She held out her hand and said, “Hello, I was asked to give this flower to a total stranger. I choose you. All I ask is that you spread it on and give it to a complete stranger, too.” “Of course,” I replied. I was honored.
I sat down on the grass and stretched my legs. Looking around I saw a woman sitting in meditation, wearing a brilliant red shirt and a bindi on her head. She was smiling at me, so I headed over to give her to flower. “Thank you,” she smiled. “I will pass it on.”
And that was my introduction to 2014’s YogaFest in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Each year, a group of yogis come together to practice in the park under the hot Florida sun. There are yoga clothing booths, smoothie booths, food trucks, and other vendors. There’s music and dancing and joy. And, of course, there’s a lot of asanas and breathing and meditation and vinyasa flows.
These are the things I learned at YogaFest 2014:
- Sometimes total strangers can become new friends.
- Never underestimate your own strength.
- Sometimes you just have to let go.
- Don’t judge yourself, love yourself.
- There’s nothing like practicing yoga with the sun on your back.
- It’s ok to breathe.
- Any resistance you have on the mat, is resistance within yourself. Go through it, don’t avoid it.
- You are not competing with the world, each soul is unique, each soul is on their own journey.
- To come together with complete strangers but feel so loved is a beautiful thing.
- You are perfect just the way you are, exactly where you are, and precisely who you’ve become. Each moment in life has lead you to this day.
- Babies are the purest of souls! When I was walking out, this baby would not stop smiling and staring at me. So I went over to say hi, and the child grabbed my hand and just smiled and laughed. Like she was saying so much but nothing at the same time. It was beautiful.
Thank you YogaFest for transforming me from doubtful, insecure, and hurried, to optimistic, centered, and calm.
What an enlightening day!