Remember when I urged us all to improve the silence in the wake of tragedy? I had no idea how on the nose that plea would be in my own life.
Because I tried silent yoga and attended a silent disco and seriously: MIND BLOWN.
First, a little context.
In July 2016, a friend of mine named Colleen Burns died while hiking the Grand Canyon with friends. I found out about it when one of my best friends called me and, through sobs, told me that the news had started to trickle out via social media.
Within a day, the local and national news outlets had picked it up. A few got her story right. Many didn’t, posting salacious, click-bait and inaccurate headlines.
The loss of Colleen, compounded by the insensitivity I saw from some in the wake of her death (new life lesson learned: don’t read the comments…just DON’T…if you know the person involved) had me spiraling a bit.
She was amazing. As the Yelp community manager in Orlando and then later, the state of Florida, she planned and attended just about every event in town, so it was more surprising when I didn’t see her. She loved color, and sparkles, and people and had that rare gift of truly wanting to make the world a better place and to have a positive effect on everyone around her. Strangers didn’t stay strangers for long, and that’s why I wasn’t at all shocked to see thousands of people posting about her in my feeds in the days and weeks after her death.
And even the tragic end of her life itself was so indicative of what she stood for: she was on an adventure with her best friends, traveling, soaking up the sunrises and sunsets, appreciating the beauty all around her.
(Colleen’s Facebook profile URL was /ConstantSparkle, and in tribute to her, the hashtags #SpreadtheSparkle and #DontStopDancing have been used all over the world!)
But back to silent yoga.
One of my favorite local studios hosted the event and even though I had no idea what to expect, I signed up. It actually fell on the same night that my Orlando friends were hosting a special event in Colleen’s memory. For a list of reasons, I wasn’t able to attend the memorial but because she was so passionate about bringing people together to try new things, connect with local vendors and HAVE FUN, going to the silent yoga instead just felt…right. I’d like to think she would have come with me, honestly.
In fact, I think she was there. It may be woo-woo and hippie dippie and you can roll your eyes if you must, but I had one of the most spiritual moments of my entire life right there on the mat. I cried, I laughed, I released all of the tension I’d been feeling and I felt happier and more at peace than I have in a LONG time.
And then, I posted this stream of consciousness review on Instagram.
A video posted by Katy Widrick (@kwidrick) on
You can learn more about silent yoga and disco in these posts:
- Silent Disco Yoga: More Than Just a Trend via Yoga Journal
- “Sound Off” Yoga Lets You Do Yoga in Silence…With Music via Elephant Journal
(not my class but very similar)
In short: each student was given a pair of headphones with volume controls so we could totally customize our experience. A live DJ played music and the instructor used a microphone to guide us through class. The room itself was totally silent other than the instructor’s quiet voice (I even took my headphones off once just to experience it and it was so eerie to watch everyone move together!).
Because of the headphones, no ambient noise was able to come through. It was me, the mat, the music and the teacher.
At the end of class, we rolled up our mats and moved from yoga to a dance party. I jumped, rocked out and danced in the dark with no cares or worries about what anyone else thought. Here’s what it looked like at Coachella, just for perspective:
What’s the moral of my story?
- Try new things, even if they seem a little kooky.
- Honor those that we have lost by taking advantage of every opportunity and adventure, and remembering that life is often too short.
- If silent yoga comes to your area, SIGN UP (and invite me).
- Live out loud. Whatever that means to you.