Updated: Nov 13
You envision gorgeous rays of sunshine breaking over the horizon, welcoming in a new day. Your body is prepared to both be challenged, and relaxed... it seems like the perfect way to start a weekend morning. Or is it?
First, let me introduce you to Southern Hills. It is a beautiful farm in Central Florida that hosts high quality produce, beautiful flowering fields, and a number of creative family attractions throughout the year. Our first experience was last fall for some seasonal fun; we plan to visit again this autumn.
Keep up with their events calendar, seasonal produce, and hours here.
SUNRISE YOGA Now, back to yoga. After receiving an email about Southern Hills offering sunrise yoga, I was eager to give it a try. It came well packaged with blueberry picking and mimosas! Perfect.
After checking in with my friends and availability, my sweet friend Nicole offered to be the brave soul willing to test out this "sunrise yoga" theory with me.
Now, keep this in mind:
Sunrise yoga starts at 7am.
We live 1 hour away.
You can imagine the type of commitment we were making.
The day arrived. We woke up at 5:30am, left our neighborhood at 5:45am, and drove off into the dark morning. The weather forecast? Rain.
We thought it would be fine. The skies would clear by the time we arrive - or so we thought.
We were wrong. Very wrong.
The sky grew darker, winds picked up, and central Florida decided to dump incredible amounts of seasonal rainfall, lightening, and thunder on us as we cautiously continued to drive.
After arrival, we wondered if we were the only ones crazy enough to follow through on this sunrise yoga thing, but to our surprise, we found a total of two people under the awnings in the main gathering space. The yoga instructor and the nice lady opening up some of the food trucks.
It was just starting into daybreak. No sunshine yet. There were deep, dark clouds - the haunting, yet beautiful ones that draw you in... Side note: I wish I had taken more photos, some of these are friend pics and some elements my cell phone just couldn't capture. We definitely need more for the next visit...
Coming back: Fortunately, we had a covering... in a way; it was the large awning typically reserved for the food trucks, picnic tables, and seasonal festivities.
We gathered with the yoga instructor and worked to find the driest area possible. After all, we committed to yoga and a decent drive, so we were going to do yoga. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, a handful of other brave souls joined us. We put down our mats. We gathered in a tight cluster to avoid the rain blowing sideways on us and the strong winds chilling our backs.
While the skies were not what we imagined, and the weather not ideal, you know what made it a great experience?
Doing it anyway. Enduring through the storm.
Focus. Intentionality. Avoiding distractions.
.... WHILE the storm was blowing.
I couldn't help but make a lot of life connections while we made our way through this unique yoga session. How often are we in situations that feel overwhelming, stormy, or daunting? How many times do we have to link arms with friends and support systems to endure or focus in order to heal and continue on? To withstand the winds, trials, and broken parts of ourselves and life? In simpler ways, how often do we give up on every day disciplines because we don't "feel" like doing them? or because the conditions don't seem right? What if our perspective changed? What if we recognize the trials and storms for what they are... painful, yet productive for our resilience, refinement, maturity, and strength? What if the daily, seemingly mundane tasks, like exercise, changing diapers, chauffeuring children, or devoting time to work, turn into blessings that we view as the building blocks that allow for our bodies, families, and finances to grow? ...just "food for thought" as they say.
Over the course of the next hour, we enjoyed a great yoga session, some great laughs acknowledging our circumstances, and did something valuable for our bodies. The rain slowed and eventually turned to a light drizzle, and the sun peaked through where it could.
To close out our morning, we then enjoyed some mimosas and wandered through damp blueberry fields to pick delicious, ripe, blueberries all by hand (one of the best parts of the day!).
FINAL THOUGHTS All in all, it was a great experience. It wasn't easy... at times, it wasn't comfortable... but we did it! Nicole was a trooper, and I was thankful I didn't totally regret our decision to try it.
I heard a reference the other day to the power of pain. It isn't a concept we can dive into fully today, but as I share about this random experience, I am reminded that the storms WILL come. Whether consequence to our own actions, the impact of a broken world, or the hardships of loss, change, or growth... life can (and often does) hurt. As we learn, grow, change, mend relationships, and let go of others... there is power in the strength, endurance, and perspective we gain; if we choose to DO THE WORK (AND CULTIVATE REST) in the midst of the storm. We can't ignore it, and if we do, it will not benefit us. But, if we face it, get help, weather the storm, and follow through, we may find some incredible results on the other side. Live well, Lindsey