Practicing Non-Attachment in the Wake of Hurricane Iselle

As the news of the hurricane Iselle’s arrival to Hawaii filtered into our retreat, our 17 yoga teacher trainers were abuzz with wonder, worries, and concerns. Everyone was making calls home to their families. But the retreat is prepared and that safety measures are put in place. This helped to alleviate some of the immediate stress.  Little did we know this would be an incredible lesson in non-attachment in yoga both on and off the mat.

Non-Attachment in Yoga During the Storm

We sat in meditations, settling the worries of the mind and invoking mudras. This helps us connect more fully with the grounding earth’s energy. We cultivated a sense of safety and the downward flow of apana vayu. This helps to create a container of present moment awareness.  Ultimately, I was amazed by the bravery and the uplifting positive energy of our group. It allowed each of us to embrace with wonder the force of the ocean waves. As well as the wild, wild wind that Iselle brought forth. Our lesson in non-attachment in yoga was beginning.

During the storm, noise of trees snapping, heavy rains and forceful gusts kept us sleepless and watchful.  After, the effects of the storm really took awhile to sink in.  Luckily, no injuries or significant damage occurs to our Oceanside retreat.  The first feeling is “Yes!  Still alive”.  Then the reality of no cell phone, no electricity, no water and no Internet settles in. The process of shifting to non-attachment in yoga and life is challenging. At first it settles as a ‘no big deal’ thought in the mind but then the attachments began to rear their head.

Non-Attachment in Life after the Storm

Can we do this?  How can we get in touch with the outside world?  What happens if water doesn’t get turned back on? What do you mean no electricity?  Luckily after a quite aromatic day, water was flowing again, toilets once again flushed and we have plenty to drink. We have to practice non-attachment in yoga and living a bit longer before the power would fully be restored. Kalani Oceanside Retreat resorts to serving food on paper products, but their food is wholesome, delicious and it’s usual delight. 

We organize a trip to town to contact families, do laundry and gather the essentials — flashlights, batteries and chocolate.  And then, we just jumped right back into yoga teacher training, studying and practice.  It takes 11 days for the electricity, hot water, cell connection and Internet to fully return into our lives.

Really living without that which we have become so used to is a great opportunity to practice non-attachment in yoga, letting go, and releasing control. I am always ready to teach anatomy with my groovy high tech three dimensional anatomy aps. But with no power, I had to get creative and modify on the fly.   Evenings ended with an early bed time, and I actually got a lot of sleep, something unusual for me during an intensive teacher training. 

Takeaways from the experience

What I noticed through all of this is the simple fact that the fear and worry of what is to come is much worse than the actual reality.  We are adaptable creatures with an amazing capacity to go with the flow, to adjust and change and to meet the needs of the moment with an effortless grace should we only give ourselves the permission to do so.  I have to say that each one of the amazing students who showed up this summer at Kalani Oceanside Retreat to take part in the Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training was able to do just this. 

I am amazing grateful for the adventurous spirit and optimism of each member of our group, our students, lovely assistant Genna and my forever inspirational colleague Molly Masakoa.  Without them, this lesson in non-attachment in yoga would not have been nearly as powerful.

Congratulations to our new yoga teachers: Sam, Heather, Martine, Martina, Meghan, Alex, Casey, Chelsea, Colby, Emily, Hyesun, Kathryn, Katie, Leah, Tanya, Vesela, and Willi.

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