Yogis persevere through the heat at ‘Namasté Day’

By Kenneth Borges, Jul 20, 2019

Hathaway leads the outdoor yoga session in 86 degree heat. Photo by: Kenneth Borges.

Hathaway leads the outdoor yoga session in 86 degree heat. Photo by: Kenneth Borges.

MATTAPOISETT — Yoga practitioners persevered through 86 degree heat to celebrate mindfulness and generosity at “Namasté Day” with a free workout, music and prizes early Saturday morning, July 20 at Ned’s Point.

The event was led by Anchor Yoga Founding Director Jessica Webb, and instructor Marcia Hathaway. Webb said that the term namasté means “to honor the light in another” and that this event was held to honor the many yogis who support Project Wheel House, an initiative to help bring the mental and physical benefits of yoga to underserved individuals such as inner city youth and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“I want to honor their generosity by being generous back,” Webb said about her supporters and the event.

Hathaway instructed an hour long program beginning around 8:30 a.m. that was tailored for the intense heat. As harpist Jay Michaels played soothing music in the background, Hathaway led yogis through a slow flow of resting, tree, and warrior poses. She placed an emphasis on standing poses to take advantage of the ocean breeze at Ned’s Point, and allowed time for water breaks.

In addition to commands like “hands at heart center” Hathaway offered words of encouragement such as “you guys are doing a great job, cause it’s really hot...just pretend that it’s not.”

Parts of Hathaway’s workout were spiritual as well as physical. In one exercise, yogis slowly moved their hands forward, and then pulled them back towards their bodies to symbolize pushing away things that are not beneficial to their higher purpose, and gathering “that which nourishes [their] spirit.” 

She also read a passage “of Your True Home, The Everyday wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh” titled “live vigorously,” focusing on the importance of mindfulness in achieving happiness.

Hathaway ended the yoga session by saying “the light in me bows to the light in you, namasté,” and thanking the crowd for attending. 

Hathaway persevered through more than just heat to lead the Namasté Day session. Due to degenerative arthritis, she will be having a hip replacement surgery in just a few days. She said that she hopes to make a quick recovery, and will return to teaching as soon as she can drive.

She said that yoga helps her work through her arthritis physically and provides a healthy distraction from her worries.

Harpist Jay Michaels played a selection of classical and Celtic music. He said he has been playing music all his life, and has played the harp for over 20 years. He said he has a special appreciation for the harp due to its long history, dating back to medieval England, and ancient Egypt before that. Michaels said that he would be playing at the Rhode Island Renaissance Faire later in the day.

After the workout was completed, Webb drew names from a jar to pick winners for prizes like $10 to $25 gift cards to Target, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Apple, as well as t-shirts, and yoga mats. 

The event was free to the public, but donations to Project Wheel House’s “20 in 20” fundraising campaign. The fundraiser will continue through Oct. 12 with the goal of raising $20,000 in 20 weeks.