Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yoga Sanctuary Celebrates Earth Day

Yes, Anna is wearing a
Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with, and she made her presence known last Sunday during Punta Gorda's Earth Day celebration sponsored by the Yoga Sanctuary and Salon Blue.    It was so windy that I wasn't sure if the celebration to benefit the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center would come off or not.   But when I arrived at Gilchrist Park at 6 p.m. I found a small group of people talking with representatives of Worden Farm and other local vendors about "10 Ways to Go Green" and waiting for the sunset yoga class.    

As part of their Earth Day curriculum, students from Sallie Jones Elementary School had created works of Earth Day-themed works of art, and the "best of" were on display.  I talked with fourth grade artist Vanity Baughman about her painting of her future dog recycling a soda bottle (hint, hint, mom and dad), and it sounded like the kids had a good time learning about Earth Day in their classes.  

Mayor Bill Albers read Punta Gorda's Earth Day Proclamation, which highlighted the fact that Earth Day is the largest civic observance in the world.  (Over 1 billion people from more than 192 countries celebrated Earth Day this year!)  Monica from the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center told us a bit about their work and its focus on education.  It was hard to hear, but I think she said that the Center's programs serve over 30,000 people each year!  Then it was time for our yoga session.

As we laid out our mats, the waves (yes, actual waves) crashed over the sea wall, and the wind whipped through our hair.  Luckily, Bonnie had a mike so that we could hear her over the elements.  As we started our practice, she talked about the importance of Earth Day as a chance to honor what we have so it will be here for future generations.   (Bonnie and Terry are expecting their first child in June, so her words seemed particularly heartfelt.)   She encouraged us to feel--and hear--the elements:  the wind coming off the water, the warmth of the sun peeking through the clouds, the stability of the ground beneath our feet.  

My practice was quite different from the outdoor yoga experience in November at Worden Farm, which was calm and relaxing.  The wind was so strong that I actually had to work to hold even the most basic mountain pose (for non-yogis, in this pose you are basically just standing upright!)   When we did our tree poses (where you place the sole of one foot against your calf or your thigh), there's no doubt that we more closely resembled saplings than sturdy old oak trees.  Even with the slightly challenging conditions, it was pretty magical to look up at the sky and the sun and the clouds as we made our way through our practice, and a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.  Namaste.      

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