Yoga. Love. Mana.

One of the most difficult things about moving to a new place is finding friends. When you’ve spent your entire life living within a 30 mile radius, you have a lot of people around you that you’ve built relationships with. Sometimes we forget how much energy it takes to build and maintain relationships. We take our friends for granted.

I’ve only been living in Hawaii for a few months now. And I’ve found two friends. Well really one friend because the other is really my husband’s friend (they did their PhD program together). But I’m working on it. I’ve been pushing myself to do things that I would normally never do; go to random classes in the park, sign up to learn hula, ask a random person who I met at a charity event if she would like to hang out sometime (that’s how I got my one friend)… And it’s working. Slowly my friend stash is increasing. We’re starting to build relationships with some of the people we’ve met through yoga. We see them and they know our names, know that Mike’s mom has been in the hospital. They ask how she’s doing. The beginning stages of friendship.

Someone who I know will continue to become a friend is our yoga instructor Jonathon. He’s just beginning his yoga business but is already an amazing teacher. He’s Native Hawaiian and is embracing his culture along with yoga. The Hawaiian people are very spiritual. They believe in the interconnectedness of people, the Āina (earth) and ke Akua (God). This flows perfectly with yoga. He calls his business “Yoga Love Mana.”

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The view during our yoga class

Jonathan holds his class at 10:30 Wednesday mornings in Kapiolani Park near the bandstand, right between the duck ponds. He begins by encouraging his students to pay attention to the sounds around us: the birds chirping and splashing, the waves of Waikiki crashing, the wind blowing… and even the sounds of technology which infiltrate the sounds of nature on a regular basis.  He then does a chant in the Hawaiian language. Even though I don’t understand all the words I know that they speak of aloha and the spiritual energy (mana) that all things have within them. It is very grounding.

The Young Living Sacred Frankincence oil that I’ve dropped into the palms of everyone there helps to center us and to focus our mind on growing; stretching our bodies and our minds to become stronger and more in tune with ourselves and with the universe. Jonathan leads us in our practice for about 90 minutes. He challenges us to try new things. To keep trying. To try again. He reminds us to reconnect with the intention that we set at the beginning of the class. My intention is always that myself and my business will be used to serve the people here. Somehow I know that this will be. It gives me peace.

We finish the physical work in shavasana. Jonathan puts a dab of Young Living Lavender oil on our foreheads as we pay attention to rest. The smell begins to awaken our senses. To bring us back to the present. To bring us outside of ourselves and back into the world around us. The class ends as all yoga classes end with Namaste; “The light in me acknowledges the light in you.” If only each person lived their life with this greeting in the forefront of their mind; recognizing that we are all connected: āina, people, animals, God… how different would our world be?

Jonathan is coming to our home for dinner this evening. We will share food and talk story. And we all will have found another friend.

 

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