When I sat down to write this blog post about NOURISH: A Holy Yoga Class + Zero Waste Brunch I was immediately overwhelmed with my own personal work that happened on my yoga mat in preparation for the yoga portion of the class. I spent a solid hour (and took over the google doc titled Nourish Blog) and used it as a personal time to journal; to write about my own unravelling and seeking Nourishment on my mat the week leading up the event, the unwinding of my own story that led me to place of surrender and tears on my yoga mat while the playlist for the class moved me to worship. The writing was therapeutic, as always, and helped me process the moments on the mat that went to form the experience I brought to those who attended Nourish.
I’ve already told you all about the beginnings of Nourish and how it came to be (if you haven’t read about it, check it out here) and I am excited to share with you how it all came together…
*All images by Jamie Mae Photography*
First, the weather. Oh, how God works all things for His good. Our original vision was outdoors and I imagined having individuals step off their yoga mats to feel the earth hug them in and ground them, to imagine their body growing strong roots into the beautiful plant that was so intentionally created. The forecast had other plans and as Kayla and I checked the weather obsessively on Friday, we made the call that night to hold the event indoors.
Indoors turned out to be a wonderful blessing. We had less to prepare as a fridge was on hand and a kitchen was available, washrooms were more easily accessible and there was no ‘what about the weather?’ thoughts nagging inside our minds. We could focus fully on creating a nourishing experience for our guests, accommodating their needs and embracing the moments as they unfolded seemingly all too quickly.
Our guests arrived and Wonderwoman Ashley signed everyone in. As the final guests arrived everyone had already begun chatting on their mats and becoming fast-friends, making me realize I should add a way to quiet a room of excited and open hearted-women to my toolbelt.
I want to start by saying that I was nervous.
I knew a few people in the room but many were fresh faces and, as an instructor who was only certified this past fall, I find the whole act of guiding a yoga class still intimidating. Once I opened with scripture and talked about how our spiritual nourishment comes from God and how we can seek that by spending time with God in prayer and meditation, through a spiritual discipline that speaks to us and through seeking Godly wisdom from others in our lives, the women laid on their backs, feeling their weight into the ground, relaxing and bringing their attention to their breath.
Oh, the breath.
That sweet, sweet life-giving breath.
God breathed life into Adam, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the Disciples and we have the opportunity to inhale the goodness of God with every breath we take and acknowledge that He gives us life. How beautiful the breath truly is.
When I come back to the breath I find peace.
When I come back to the breath I find calm.
When I come back to the breath I find the Holy Spirit waiting to move.
The practice was beautiful. The women were strong, they were soft, they listened to their bodies and moved in ways that honoured where they were at and that was powerful. They rooted down into the mat and to rise strong and free and were encouraged to take that lesson into their spiritual life; rooting strong into God as their foundation so they can rise up strong, producing good fruit of peace, patience, kindness, surrender, hospitality, grace, and all other goodness.
We found the freedom to move in tree pose and connected to the breath of our community as we partnered up for a hip and heart opener. I guided the class to close their eyes and tune into the breath of their partner, feeling their breath on their back they expanded with each inhale.
Then, together they moved. 5 sweet rounds of moving in unison and feeling connection with the one they were with. The photographer, Jamie Mae Photography, posted on her Instagram story that during this part of the practice, she could feel the presence of God in the room and that is the most beautiful thing.
A sweet savasana with essential oils, followed by more breathing ended the yoga and we moved into intentional connection. Kayla planned a lovely brunch full of nourishing foods that left our guests feel taken care of and full. I stood at the sidelines and watched as Kayla shared her story of finding nourishment in food and faith; seeing her light up as she shared, noticing how receptive and engaged our community was and it was a moment of just… thankfulness. How incredible to be part of a supportive community of incredible women taking time out of their lives to come to an event Kayla and I poured so much heart into.
The conversations ran deep, the word and scripture reference on the bottom of each vintage saucer offered encouragement and reflection, and the environment fostered a sense of nourishment. Each woman left with a gift… a reusable produce bag filled with a jar of locally grown hemp hearts, a zero waste lotion or body glimmer and discounts at some incredible stores who generously donated to support our vision.
I want to thank all of the amazing businesses and people who supported our vision and helped bring it to life. This event wouldn’t have been the same without you:
– Academy Florist for the stunning centrepiece that one lucky guest took home.
– Acorn Cafe for the gifts for each guest
– Brows by G for the gift for each guest
– Cocoabeans for the vegan, gluten-free sourdough for the sandwiches
– Creekside Creative for the amazing produce bags for each guest
– Fresh Forage for the microgreens that made the flavour of the sandwich really pop
– Generation Green for the gift for each guest
– Portia-Ella for the gifts for each guest
– River Valley Specialty Farms for the delicious hemp for each guest and for on the table
– St-Leon Gardens for sponsoring the food and the amazing hanging basket one lucky guest took home.
– Sunny Day Products for the chia seeds for the chia seed pudding
– Sweet Pea Threads for the gift for each guest
– Thirst Tea and Coffee for the amazingly delicious tea that the guests just loved
And thank-you to everyone who helped out in Kayla’s kitchen leading up to the event as we prepared food and those who helped the day of; setting up and tearing down. Each helpful hand was appreciated and made us feel an outpouring of love.
And finally, to Kayla, who I texted with an invitation to do a yoga and brunch event with me if she wanted to. She said yes, we met for coffee at Little Sister, and the rest is now beautiful history forever commemorated in the images in this post, the hearts of our attendees and our notebooks full of checked-off to-do lists and ideas ‘for next time’. Thank you for joining me and going simply above and beyond to bring this to life in ways I couldn’t even have imagined when I first sent that text. Your heart for women, for God and for community is encouraging. Your servant-minded and people-focused intentional connection with those you meet is contagious. Thank you for making this event what it was.
And to you, if you attended the event, you are the reason we did this. I hope you truly felt nourished during the event and that you felt encouraged to go home and seek nourishing from God, from your food, from your relationships and from your surroundings. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible.
And if you didn’t come, I hope you enjoyed reading the story behind the flow, the social media posts, and the story behind the stunning photos. I’d love to encourage you to check out Kayla’s blog where she shares her own heart in beautiful words written from a place of gifting. Her perspective on the event will be different and I’d love for you to read to really understand the full experience Nourish was.
Until next time!
Which, yes… there just might be a ‘next time’… and we are pretty excited about those possibilities.