Outside the weather is pretty dreary – it hasn’t stopped raining all day and everything looks and feels soggy. Inside, the air is popping with energy. The room is bright with colorful yoga mats and 800 yogis are preparing to practice in the wide open space of the Cleveland Museum of Art Atrium. This atrium was designed to give Clevelanders of all backgrounds a place to congregate. I can’t think of a better way to utilize that space then to have almost a thousand individuals practicing yoga as part of Believe in CLE.
Believe in CLE is a yoga movement celebrating Cleveland. It connects us with friends, strangers, and anyone who shares a common love for Cleveland. Last August, Believe in CLE kicked off in front of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where hundreds of Clevelanders flowed through a 90 minute vinyasa class. This Saturday, Clevelanders came together once again to practice in unison as a city.
As we kicked off the class, I was instantly immersed in the energy of the room. We flowed through a moderately difficult class, with the assistance of some fabulous yoga assistants from local studios. Halfway through our practice a mini dance session ensued, and then we jumped right back into chaturanga – literally! Each time we ended up in a posture that had us looking up at the atrium ceiling, 800 reflections of the yogis below were looking right back at me.
Throughout our practice there were times we were asked to reach out to our neighbors and squeeze an ankle or hold a hand. It was during those moments that you felt the most moved – as strangers and friends alike were united through our love for yoga and our city. At the very end of our practice, as we settled into our final shavasana, a hauntingly beautiful voice pierced the air of the atrium and sang the sweetest song to end our practice. As we packed up our yoga mats and put on our rain boots, it was hard not to feel invigorated and strengthened by the positive energy of the room.