It was hardly a self-serving, “look at me, it’s my birthday” event, though. Instead, the beloved Modo Yoga instructor used the Big Love Birthday gathering—which centered largely around celebrating health, spirituality, and fitness—as a fundraiser benefiting God’s Love We Deliver, a nonprofit organization that provides home-delivered meals to people living with chronic illnesses.
It’s a cause that hits close to home for Cannon, who several years ago learned she was HIV-positive—and God’s Love was there to help. “It was a way for me to give back to the community that really served me when I was sick,” Cannon says. “Being in the wellness industry myself, I wanted to utilize the teachers and friends I have by offering a unique opportunity for the community to connect.”
The event with yoga and music was a serious success, raising thousands of dollars for the charity, and it’s since expanded from a birthday party to a Big Love Weekend (February 19–21; tickets from $50 to $200 with 100 percent proceeds going to God’s Love). This year, it will be bigger—and love-ier—than ever.
Now in its fourth year, Big Love Weekend has expanded from two days to three, and will feature more teachers and workshops than ever before. And it’s not exactly hosted by “The Bearded Yogi” anymore. Over the past year, Jase has completed an evolution to accept her gender identity as a woman—and she’s eager to host this year’s event as her “most authentic self.”
“I’m in a space today that I’ll be able to see even more of the love that’s given,” Cannon says. “It’s the greatest gift of all, to be surrounded by a community that accepts and loves me as who I am. I’m so proud to have a platform where I can show up as myself—as Jase, not just The Bearded Yogi.”
The three-day event kicks off Friday at Hub Seventeen (Lululemon’s new event space) with an intention-setting Sacred Evening, including a Puja (prayer ritual) ceremony, a guided meditation, a sacred sound bath, and a meditational healing with ancient Tibetan singing bowls.
Saturday is the much-anticipated Wellness Day—a full day of classes and workouts led by some of NYC’s leading instructors including Patricia Moreno of IntenSati, Noah Neiman of Barry’s Bootcamp, and the DogPound Boys, as well as meditation workshops, inspirational discussions, and of course, a healthy lunch (think Juice Generation and Gingersnap’s Organic).
The lovefest wraps up on Sunday with a cocktail party that includes live music, and which, for the first time, will be held at God’s Love We Deliver’s event space at its newly opened Michael Kors building in Soho.
Four years ago, the event raised $5,000 for God’s Love We Deliver. Since then, Big Love Weekend has raised $92,000, and is already at $52,000 for this year.
Between the Friday night enlightenment, the booty-kicking and eye-opening sessions on Saturday, and the cocktail party Sunday, Cannon promises a whole lotta love along the way. “The weekend teaches us New Yorkers that we can all be a part of community,” Cannon says. “We can all live in the act of service. What we receive in return is beyond anything you could expect.”
Want to tap into some big love on your own? Find a quiet spot and listen to this guided meditation from the founder of mindfulness app OMG, I Can Meditate.