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UC Yoga on the Savannah by Patrick Bennett
Trinidad

On-Site Trinidad: Sunrise Yoga on the Savannah

On-Site Trinidad: Sunrise Yoga on the Savannah
A mind free from all disturbance is Yoga.

In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday April 6th there was precious little indication that my mind would embody this Patanjali Sutra in any way, any time soon. Just two days prior, we’d said our final farewells to my cousin Clinton. Outwardly, I was fine; interacting with long-lost family, making new acquaintances, providing love and support wherever it was needed. Inside, though, those feelings of anger I expressed here were pretty raw.

A 5:30am wake up call wasn’t helping either, but Patrick and I had plans to squeeze a small dose of the uncommon into our somber trip.

We set out on foot from the comfy confines of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad onto to the empty early-am streets of Port-of-Spain. Our destination: the Savannah, the all-everything sprawling swath of open space nestled in the heart of the capital; Trinidad’s answer to Central Park. There, just after sunrise, we were to meet with Katherine.

6:25am Walking to the Savannah | SBPR
6:25am Walking to the Savannah | SBPR

Captivating. Bewitching, really, with striking white hair reminiscent of Storm from X-Men and soft, caring eyes that draw you in and keep you entranced, Katherine had been among the mourners at Clinton’s funeral. Patrick met her just as she was leaving the small gathering at our aunt and uncle’s place, somehow getting in the middle of a spirited discussion, the subject of which no one seems to recall, only to emerge with an invitation to sunrise yoga on the Savannah.

Now, I like yoga. At the same time, I’ve only really done it once… in Dominica… about a year ago… and even then only on a limited basis.

Of course, I wasn’t going to say no to Katherine. (I imagine that with those eyes, she rarely hears the word.) As we approached the circle of women already engaged in the session, though, I almost wished I had declined.

Picture us, two guys dressed almost identically – black shorts, Caribbean-blue UC shirts – Patrick hauling his hefty camera bag, both of us carving a beeline across the Savannah to their intimate, all-female circle.

Awkward? Yes. For about a minute. One warm glance from Katherine and a few reassuring words of welcome later and all was good.

Katherine chatting with Patrick | SBPR
Katherine chatting with Patrick | SBPR

Actually, all was great as Katherine’s easy, nurturing lilt and steady pacing progressively melted my cares away. To the east, the sun was making its warm intentions for the day known to all over the slowly awakening city, turning up the heat on our little circle while forcing those of us facing her way to close our eyes. Birds sang out all around us welcoming the day in turn as Katherine continued; each word, each movement healing just a bit more the further she went along.

Me, Reaching for the sky | Credit: Patrick Bennett
Me, Reaching for the sky | Credit: Patrick Bennett

An hour passed in what seemed like 10 minutes. I could’ve stayed out there all day, but the job was done.

Inspired, reinvigorated, content. My mind undisturbed. Yoga achieved.

While chatting afterward, we learned that the day’s session was dedicated to raising awareness for autism, a cause near and dear to my heart. Blue just happens to be the official color for autism awareness, so it seems our matching UC-themed outfits further helped us to fit right in!

Sunrise Yoga on the Savannah will leave you all smiles | by Patrick Bennett
Sunrise Yoga on the Savannah will leave you all smiles | by Patrick Bennett

Katherine conducts her uplifting Yoga on the Savannah sessions every first Sunday of the month beginning at 6:30am. All are welcome, so you don’t need to feel shy or awkward as I did. The group meets in the grass just opposite the Archbishop’s residence in the northwest section of the Savannah.

If a Sunday isn’t in your Trinidad travel plans, you can always catch Katherine at her Yoga 4 Youth studio in Woodbrook where she offers classes catering to young first-timers and seasoned yoga enthusiasts alike. For more information, visit and “Like” the Yoga 4 Youth page on Facebook.

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