KAILUA-KONA — Coming together beneath clear skies and the shade of coconut palms, more than four dozen people came to Hale Halawai Friday for a morning of stretching, meditation and introspection on International Yoga Day.
“It’s a good workout, and it’s also like a good work-in,” said Amy Johnson, a certified yoga teacher. “It just kind of puts everything into perspective. It kind of helps you de-stress and just be in the moment.”
Friday marked the fifth celebration of International Yoga Day, a celebration declared by the United Nations General Assembly.
Organizer Celeste Cline said 50 people came out for Friday’s event, where instructors from throughout the community led the group over the morning.
For those experienced in yoga, Cline said, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the day as well as share it with those who might be newcomers to yoga.
And by inviting people to Hale Halawai, Cline said, it makes it more accessible to everyone, which is important to encourage people to come out.
“I know that when you put yoga out of the way, people are less likely to join and come,” she said. “When you put it right in the path of, say, downtown and there’s noise and music, people are a lot more likely to come check it out.”
As a result, she said, even more people get some exposure.
Among those who came out for the morning were Christina Winkelmeier and Michael Anthofer, visiting from Germany.
Winkelmeier said she started practicing yoga on her holiday because they’re traveling for three months and said she enjoys the stretching, breathing and the opportunity “to think about nothing.”
“It’s amazing. It’s really amazing,” she said of the event at Hale Halawai. “It’s really interesting to see all the different teachers. The time passes really fast.”
And yoga, Cline said, offers a lot of opportunity for people to exercise themselves in any number of ways they might be looking — be it physically, mentally or spiritually.
“Because really all it is is just moving your body,” she said. “It’s important to move your body in ways that you don’t normally move your body.”
Johnson, too, made the point that yoga offers something for everyone.
“I don’t think you need to be able to do a handstand to do yoga,” she said. “I think it’s not really about that; it’s not about the flashy poses even though they’re fun to attempt. But it’s just about taking time to just remember what’s important in life.”
“It’s just being there for your family and your friends,” she said, “and you’re not getting too wrapped up in the stresses of every day.”